Tonga eruption and tsunami: How New Zealanders can help Tonga

On Saturday, a violent volcanic eruption and tsunami rocked the Pacific kingdom of Tonga, causing widespread damage to infrastructure, homes and livelihoods, and killing three. 

With communications still largely severed and the islands coated in a thick blanket of ash, the full extent of the damage has not yet been determined. Drinking water has been contaminated by volcanic debris, the power connection remains unstable, food crops are damaged or destroyed and the air quality has been affected. 

New Zealand has committed to assisting with Tonga's recovery. A C-130 Hercules flight is on standby to deliver humanitarian aid and disaster relief stores, including collapsible water containers, generators and hygiene kits for families once ashfall has been cleared from the airport runway.

Meanwhile, two Royal New Zealand Navy ships - HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa - departed Aotearoa on Tuesday, carrying equipment to assist with the recovery, including bulk water supplies.

The New Zealand Government has also allocated a further $500,000 in humanitarian assistance, taking initial funding to $1 million. 

There are also multiple ways that New Zealanders can help. A number of aid charities are currently working with local partners in Tonga to assist with relief efforts. 

The Council for International Development (CID) is the national umbrella agency for New Zealand organisations working in international development. The council is liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other agencies to coordinate a response.

The CID represents more than 70 members ranging from small community-based organisations to international NGOs, including Caritas, ChildFund, Oxfam, the Salvation Army, Unicef and World Vision. All full members are compliant with the Code of Conduct, meaning the public can be reassured that systems are in place to ensure funds reach those most in need. 

If you do want to donate to a charity, you can do so to one of the trusted organisations that make up the CID Humanitarian Network.

Here's where you can put your money: 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

The Catholic agency for justice, peace and development has offered an immediate Solidarity Grant to Caritas Tonga. You can donate to its Pacific Relief Fund to help with Tonga's recovery following the eruption and tsunami. Pre-positioned supplies held in the country by CID members, such as Caritas Aotearoa and Caritas Tonga, have been released. These supplies include a water purification unit, jerry cans, hygiene kits, buckets and water taps.

You can donate to Caritas' Pacific Relief Fund online here.

Tearfund New Zealand

Christian non-profit organisation Tearfund has set up an emergency appeal to provide clean water, food and other lifesaving supplies to some of Tonga's most vulnerable families and communities. The charity has established partners in Tonga who are well-positioned to respond to those in need. 

You can donate to Tearfund's Tonga Volcano Emergency Appeal online here.

Oxfam Aotearoa

Oxfam is actively monitoring the situation in Tonga, with the air and water pollution from volcanic ash its immediate concerns. Oxfam in the Pacific runs two programmes in Tonga: The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) programme and Food Security and Livelihoods Programme. Oxfam in the Pacific also works with several partners locally, including Tonga National Youth Council, Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC), Ma’a Fafine mo e Famili Inc (MFF), Tonga Leitis Association (TLA) and Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT). 

Oxfam also has a Disaster Response which allocates emergency funds to provide humanitarian aid after natural disasters, launching rapid responses after tropical cyclones, earthquakes and human-made accidents. 

You can donate to Oxfam's Disaster Response online here.

Christian World Service

The non-profit organisation Christian World Service is working closely with other church mission agencies to develop a coordinated response to the eruption. The organisation's local partner Ama Takiloa - Tonga Community Development Trust is made up of local groups throughout the country.  Members have undertaken disaster preparedness training and have supported their communities through cyclones and drought.  A New Zealand-based staff member says they will help with emergency relief, including safe water, hygiene supplies, sanitation and replacement food crops. 

You can donate to Christian World Service's appeal online here.

Rotary New Zealand World Commuity Service

Rotary New Zealand has established a Tonga Volcano Eruption and Tsunami Appeal to provide access to potable water, land rehabilitation and assist with the restoration of livelihoods. Rotary New Zealand has a long association with trusted partners in Tonga who are well established to respond to these specific needs.

You can donate to Rotary New Zealand's Disaster Relief Fund online here.

New Zealand Red Cross/Tonga Red Cross Society

NGO New Zealand Red Cross is working with its regional network to respond to the impact of the eruption. Tonga Red Cross teams will be on the ground supporting evacuations, providing first aid if needed, and distributing prepositioned relief supplies. Red Cross currently has enough relief supplies in the country to support 1200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits.

New Zealand Red Cross is on standby to provide a range of assistance, including preparing to deploy a specialist Emergency Response Unit to assist with communications and infrastructure restoration if needed.

The charity has also established a Pacific Tsunami Appeal to provide access to safe and clean drinking water and shelter for coastal communities. 

You can donate to Red Cross' Pacific Tsunami Appeal here.