Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on 15 January 2022, causing a tsunami that flooded the coastlines of Tonga and covered many of its islands in ash.


Tonga Volcano
Photo credit: Tonga Red Cross Society

An estimated 86,000 people (or 84% of the population of Tonga) were affected by the eruption and tsunami and more than 500 houses and many businesses were damaged or destroyed.  

The New Zealand Red Cross raised over $2.8 million and is continuing to assist the ongoing recovery.  

Thanks for your support

Thanks to the generosity of over 8,000 people, businesses and community groups who donated, the appeal reached its target of over $2.8 million. 

The Pacific Tsunami Appeal is now closed. To ensure all donations received for a special appeal are spent entirely on their stated purpose, we close special appeals once the target amount has been raised.  

If you have recently held a fundraising event to support the relief efforts in Tonga, please consider donating to the ‘Pacific Disaster Fund’. Alternatively, by donating to 'Where the need is greatest', you can help vulnerable communities build resilience and ensure we are always ready to be there for those who need us. 

How New Zealand Red Cross is helping

In early February we sent emergency supplies to Tonga including blankets, tarpaulins, lanterns, masks, and kitchen sets.  A New Zealand Red Cross specialist in disaster response financial management has been supporting Tonga remotely from Aotearoa New Zealand (due to COVID-19 restrictions) and we expect they will be able to travel to Tonga shortly.    

In addition, we contributed $320,000 to a global Red Cross fund that provided financial assistance to those who needed temporary housing, food, water and other supplies.  

An outbreak of COVID-19 this year has severely affected the ability of aid agencies to deliver humanitarian relief. New Zealand Red Cross is supplying 5,000 surgical masks and 1,000 RATS tests to assist with the management of the pandemic. 

We’ll be contributing more than a million dollars to four infrastructure rebuild projects in the coming months. We’re continuing to work with the Tonga Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) in Fiji on how we can best assist with the ongoing recovery.  

Read more about our work with Pacific Partners 

Support from the business community

Businesses around New Zealand played a major role in fundraising efforts. 

Our Disaster Response Alliance partners – Countdown, The Warehouse and NZ Post – fundraised on our behalf and also made generous donations themselves. 

Vodafone and the Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation raised funds through Givealittle. Both matched donations given by the public and raised more than $600,000 in total. 

$212,000 was raised through the  'Tries for Tonga' fundraiser. Over March and Apruil 2022 Five hundred dollars was  donated to New Zealand Red Cross for each of the 341 tries scored during the first 10 rounds of the Super Rugby Pacific and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki competitions.  

Other businesses who supported the Appeal included AIA Vitality NZ, Alliance Group Ltd, Azelis New Zealand, Fonterra, Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust, Frucor Suntory New Zealand Ltd, Microsoft, Northpower, Rinnai New Zealand Ltd, Suncorp New Zealand, Summerset Group, Tip Top, Val Morgan Outdoor and the Z Zurich Foundation. 

Read more about business support in our media release 

Find out how your business can join the Disaster Response Alliance