Tonga: Global education union movement in solidarity after devastating volcanic eruption
Education International has launched an Urgent Action Appeal after being contacted by its member organisation in Tonga, the Friendly Islands Teachers’ Association (FITA/Tonga), regarding the plight of its members in the areas affected by the volcanic eruption on 15 January 2022.
The Hunga Tonga submarine volcano erupted violently at 5pm local time, some 60 kilometers north of Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island. The eruption, which registered as hundreds of times more powerful than the first atomic bomb, triggered a tsunami that swept over Tonga’s low-lying islands and reached Fiji, Vanuatu and many other areas along the Pacific rim.
Four deaths have been reported in Tonga, but all FITA colleagues are safe. Still, the situation in the country remains extremely difficult. Most of the land area was covered by ash and debris, and power outages remain frequent. Communications and access to internet have been interrupted due to extensive damage to undersea cables. Most drinking water remains polluted, with Tongans having relied on expensive bottled water for the last seven weeks. The country has also had to deal with its first-ever COVID-19 outbreak after getting its first cases from aid workers delivering humanitarian supplies.
Education International has already made an initial financial contribution to help FITA purchase supplies after its office was damaged in the disaster. However, much more is needed for FITA to be able to resume activities and help its members. We therefore invite member organisations to support their sister organisation in Tonga by contributing to the EI Solidarity Fund at:
24, Avenue Marnix
IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075
With the indication UAA (Urgent Action Appeal) Tonga Solidarity fund.