Tonga Volcano Leaves Beautiful Island In Wreckage


Annette Vaipulu, Reporter

Earlier this month, disastrous news began to spread throughout my family about our island, Tonga, a tropical island located in the Oceanic region of the South Pacific, about the volcano that erupted, and how it caused a tsunami. My mom and dad had no words to express their reaction, especially because it was their home before they came to America. 

Both the volcano and subsequent tsunami afflicted our little nation. Out of all the things in Tonga, I never expected that we’d be known as the cause of tsunami warnings here in America. 

I went on Instagram and saw my cousins’ posts about the Volcanic eruption as a way to spread the word. I looked all over the hashtag “#Tonga” and it was filled with cell phone videos and photos of the volcanic explosion. There was the destruction of houses and property from the tsunami—but luckily many Tongan residents made it out safely, and there weren’t that many casualties from the disaster.

Being Tongan myself, this natural disaster was surprising—it was out of nowhere and left me with mixed feelings. I should’ve felt bad because I have family there, but I was confused because I couldn’t do anything to support them. I was hoping for a better media representation of our Polynesian culture. This wasn’t the representation we deserved. 

I wanted Tonga to be known for the history that still runs deep into our island. Being the “Friendly Island” nation, we still have a monarchy and what we value the most is family. That’s why this was such a big deal to Tongan culture.

It’s going to be a while before any tourists visit our island. This was more than just a volcanic eruption. Many Tongans lost their homes and need help. Organizations such as M.A.LO. TONGA IE will take donations to bring hope and relief to those in Tonga who were impacted by the volcanic eruption and tsunami.