Tongan families eagerly await tsunami news | Canberra time

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The volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunamis that hit Tonga left Canberran residents in limbo awaiting calls from family. Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, was blanketed in ash and hit by a tsunami that swept across the Pacific after a monumental underwater volcano erupted 50 kilometers from the capital on Saturday night. Until Monday morning, Tonga was without power while communication lines to and from the Pacific nation remained limited, leaving many of the 2,000 Tongans in Canberra unable to get in touch with their families on the islands. . Mother and Aunt Lupe Fisi’ikaile are desperately trying to get in touch with her 72-year-old mother and her brother’s family who live in Tonga. “At first, I didn’t want to tell my children and my niece, but I knew it was going to bring all the news. Their first question after I told them was, “Is mom okay?” and I had to tell them we didn’t know,” Ms. Fisi’ikaile said. “My mum was online on Saturday but as soon as she went offline we haven’t heard from her since.” “The kids are worried but I’m trying to keep it light here because I’m a widower, we had one of those hurdles so I don’t want the kids to relive the loss of someone.” Information had been difficult to obtain for Ms Fisi’ikaile as she attempted to contact the Tonga-based Australian Embassy about the security of her mother’s region, but had yet to receive a response . “It’s just a waiting game. The only updates we can get are if someone got their hands on someone locally and they posted an update, but that’s also one of the concerns because incorrect information is being posted online, which has led to more anxiety,” she said. “The only information I wanted the Australian Embassy to provide was whether the waves had reached my family home which is close to town, but so far there is no response.” “I know my neighbors in Tonga are doing well and a friend from New Zealand said her parents are doing well. They all have access to food and water, which comforts me a bit, but that doesn’t tell me still not that my mother is well.” Association of Tonga president Sikahema Aholelei, whose own siblings are in Tonga, said once communications between Tonga and Australia improve, the community in Canberra will organize something. “The big problem was that communication was broken between Tonga and anyone else in the world, which made anything happening or organized in Canberra insufficient because we have no information” , Mr. Aholelei said. “I think once communication is restored I will be inundated with calls from my family in Tonga and hopefully we can organize something then.” “Because of the eruption, the ash has spread all over the territory and most of the drinking water is piped from the roof of the houses to a tank and probably no one can touch it at this stage, so they probably depend coconut trees and probably field supplies from local businesses.” READ MORE: Tonga High Commission Deputy Chief of Mission Curtis Tu’ihalangingie said they were managing anxious community members while working with the Australian government to receive support. “An important thing to note is that Tonga is COVID-free and so far no one has died from the tsunami, so we don’t want a wave of COVID which could have greater effects,” said Mr. Tu’ihalangingie. “Australia and New Zealand have confirmed that they will ensure they adhere to any Tongan government COVID protocols.” Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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