Brussels, 19 January 2022/OACPS: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, is very concerned for the welfare and wellbeing of the government and residents of the Kingdom of Tonga and the other affected Pacific Member States as a result of the explosive eruption of the submarine volcano, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai, and the subsequent tsunamis that occurred on Saturday, 15 January 2022, which affected the region.

Extensive damage to communications infrastructure has meant that the OACPS must wait for official situation reports to be shared of the extent of damage and losses in Tonga. The OACPS Secretary-General therefore welcomes and acknowledges the early assistance and support provided by Australia and New Zealand to carry out aerial surveillance of the affected areas. These will provide crucial and much needed information for disaster response efforts.

In the spirit of OACPS solidarity, Secretary-General Chikoti expresses his condolences for the loss of life and the damage caused, to the Governments and people of all the affected States and especially to the Kingdom of Tonga, which has borne the worst of the impacts. The OACPS stands ready to collaborate closely with our longstanding partner the European Union and our network of international partners, to secure the smooth and prompt delivery of humanitarian relief supplies. These will be urgently needed to assist in the response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of this sudden, catastrophic, event.

Photo: Tonga Ecological Services