One year on from Tongan eruption and tsunami

Sunday January 15th, 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai eruption and subsequent tsunami that wreaked havoc on Tonga.

Last year Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) produced a series that showed the impact the natural disaster had on the people of Tonga. This series was played locally and across the Pacific, sharing the story of the tragedy that touched so many while highlighting the resilient spirit of Tonga.

To mark the upcoming anniversary, TBC will be replaying these episodes along with a new programme focusing on the work carried out by the government to help those affected including interviews with government officials, town officers, and the community.

‘Otufelenite ‘Elone, producer at TBC, wants to “share recollections of feelings and memories of people from that day [and] night.”

Crews working to repair the damage caused on January 15th 2022

‘Elone says she had the opportunity to visit Átata island, one of the most impacted by the disaster.

“The people of Átata were moved here to the main island and have been living at the Church of Tonga hall in Kolomotu’a. They are being relocated to the village of Masilamea, one of the estates of Prince Ata.”

In the wake of the eruption and tsunami, Tonga upgraded their civil emergency infrastructure installing 75 tsunami warning sirens that were put to good use on November 11th, 2022. ‘Elone says people were more organised when evacuating in November as compared to January.

TBC staff that were working on January 15th played an important role in keeping the nation connected, empowering “people to be resilient … and bring hope and love through the airways to a nation covered in darkness,” says ‘Elone.

“We hope that everyone will enjoy it, as it is a [day] we will always remember.”

TBC will be airing their documentaries throughout the week starting Monday January 16th, 2023.