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

It’s estimated 86,000 people (or 84% of the population of Tonga) were affected by the eruption and tsunami and 17,000 people still need assistance. The west coast of Tongatapu sustained extensive damage and more than 500 houses and many businesses were damaged or destroyed. 

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

Thanks for your support

Our Pacific Tsunami Appeal has reached its target of over $2.8 million and the appeal is now closed. 

We could not have provided the support we have without the donations  of compassionate people like you. The people and communities of Tonga are not alone in their time of need, thanks to you.

Tries for Tonga

During March and April New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia ran a 'Tries for Tonga' fundraiser which made $212,000 to support Tonga. 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.

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.

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