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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Tonga - Southern Africa

26 Jan 2022


Workers load the HMAS Adelaide ship with emergency supplies dedicated to Tonga Islands in response to the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai underwater volcano. © UNICEF/Sarah Shotunde

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 26 January 2022


The UN Resident Coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha and his Office, based in Fiji, is supporting the Tongan Government’s response priorities in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The support is ensuring integrated humanitarian action and assistance from all UN agencies, regional response clusters, donors and development partners.  

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, deployment of additional UN or NGO personnel from outside Tonga is under discussion with the Tongan authorities.

Access to safe water remains a key challenge, with many contaminated water reservoirs in need of repairs. Food security is also a major concern, and the damage done to plants by the ash is being assessed. 

UN agencies already based in Tonga (UNFPA, UNICEF, FAO, IOM, WHO) and NGO partners (Oxfam, Save the Children) are responding.

Response details:

UNFPA: distribution of dignity kits and provision of psychosocial services to affected population in Tongatapu.

WHO: supporting medical teams from the Ministry of Health with medical supplies. WHO is also providing technical advice and support to environmental health teams on water testing, food and hygiene support. 

IOM: advisory and technical support to national disaster authority (NEMO) in relation to displacement and evacuations. 

UNICEF: dispatching 44 pallets worth of WASH and Dignity Kits, recreation kits, jerry cans and buckets on board the HMAS Adelaide. 

FAO: supporting relevant ministries in assessing the impact on agriculture. 

The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT), working mostly out of Fiji, is also mobilizing targeted assistance on telecoms, logistics, access to clean water and NFIs. 

Southern Africa 

The Tropical Storm Ana impacted Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi causing loss of life, devastation and destruction.

In Mozambique, humanitarian partners report that TS Ana has caused widespread flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure, particularly in the provinces of Tete, Zambezia and Nampula. Nearly 20,700 people have been affected by the storm and at least 10 have died, including the Tete Administrator, Mr. José Maria Mandare, who lost his life when attempting to assess the damage caused by the storm. 

In Malawi, at least 16,000 people have been affected, according to our Red Cross colleagues, and at least 4 people have lost their lives due to the heavy rains and flooding in the south of the country. Many people are also without power as the floods have impacted a key power station.

In Madagascar, tens of thousands of people have been affected and at least 34 people have died, almost all of them in the capital Antananarivo, where traditional houses collapsed. Others were swept away by landslides.

In both Madagascar and Mozambique, this storm comes on top of humanitarian crises which already required urgent attention and funding—drought in Madagascar and conflict in Mozambique. There’s urgent need for donor support.

This weather event again highlights the urgent need for global action to tackle the climate crisis, not least in Southern Africa, which continue to bear the brunt of it.