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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - Tonga

17 Jan 2022


A food distribution in Kabul, Afghanistan. © WFP Afghanistan

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 17 January 2022


OCHA reports that in line with UN commitments to scale up the humanitarian response, humanitarian partners have since September 2021 provided 9.4 million people with food assistance and reached over 145,600 children with community-based education activities. 

They have also provided more than 1.6 million people with primary and secondary health care and treated more than 275,000 children under five for acute malnutrition.

In addition, over 550,000 people have been provided with water and sanitation hygiene assistance, including through hygiene promotion and hygiene kits.

Meanwhile, civilian casualties due to improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance (UXO) continue to be reported.

Last Friday, 14 January, two children were reportedly killed when a UXO was accidently detonated by a group of children playing in the Abpashak area of Nahr-e-Saraj District of Hilmand Province. 

Similarly, on 16 January, two children were reportedly injured by a UXO detonation in the Mullah Khail area in Nazyan District of Nangarhar Province.  

On 12 January, the UN Mine Action Service carried out mine clearance operations and provided Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in villages in Lalpur District, of Nangrahar Province. 

In addition, mine clearance operations are ongoing in Pachiragam and Chaparhar districts of Nangarhar Province. 


OCHA reports significant infrastructural damage around Tongatapu, the main island, following the tsunami that occurred in the aftermath of the massive eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on Saturday, 15 January. 

There has been no contact from the Ha’apai Group of islands, and we are particularly concerned about two small low-lying islands – Mango and Fonoi – following [New Zealand and Australian] surveillance flights confirming substantial property damage.

Extensive damage to property has also been reported on the western beaches of Tongatapu with several resorts and houses destroyed and/or badly damaged. 

While no fatalities have been confirmed to date, two people remain missing.

Elsewhere in the Pacific [Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands] tsunami warnings have been lifted with no serious impact reported so far besides limited flooding.

While we do not have a clear picture of the humanitarian needs due to communication challenges, Tongan authorities have called for immediate assistance, in particular for fresh water and food, as assessments continue. 

The governments of New Zealand and Australia have announced emergency funding to for the immediate aid response. Australia is also preparing a vessel to sail to Tonga with relief supplies.  

The Red Cross has offered assistance and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community [an international development organization comprising 22 Pacific island countries and territories] – is providing technical support on the impact of the volcano and its ashfall. 

The Pacific Humanitarian Team members are working with partners on the ground and national counterparts. 

UN agencies working in Tonga, including UNFPA, UNICEF, FAO, IOM and WHO, are providing support, and the logistics cluster, led by WFP, is working to bring in relief supplies and possibly surge staff – in close coordination with relevant authorities in Tonga, humanitarian partners and donor countries.  

OCHA is providing communication support to Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office, which is leading the assessments and the government response – in close cooperation with the Tonga Red Cross Society.