Evacuation of tsunami survivors to king, royal and nobility’s other estates ‘easy’, says Minister of Lands

The Minister of Lands and Survey Hon Lord Tu’i’āfitu says the evacuation of the people affected by the tsunami is easy because they were residents of the king, royals and the nobility’s estates.

Lord Tu’i’āfitu

The Minister said it was fortunate that the damage happened to islands and towns owned by the king, royals and the nobility.

The Minister was responding to question raised by some journalists during the first government press conference after last week’s tsunami this afternoon at the St George Palace in Nuku’alofa.

“It’s easy. When the king will allow it it’s an evacuation to estates such as Prince Tungī’s “, Lord Tu’i’āfitu said in Tongan.

The Minister was referring to other estates of the king, royals and the nobility in Tonga which had not been affected by the tsunami as possible new homes for the tsunami survivors.

Lord Tu’i’āfitu said the king and the royals were the first to provide assistance immediately after the tsunami, but he did not say what did they provide.

The islands of Mango, Fonoifua, ‘Atatā and Nomuka as well as Kanoupolu town in Tongatapu were wiped out and blanketed in acidic ash from the tsunami triggered by the powerful eruption.

Kolomotu’a and Pātangata in Tongatapu were two towns which received extensive damages.

‘Atatā belongs to Prince Ata while Mango and Kanokupolu belong to the king. Nomuka is  Crown Prince Tupouto’a’s estate and Fonoifua is one of Lord Tu’i’āfitu’s estates. Pātangata and Kolomotu’a are government’s estates.

The estates of the king’s nephew, Prince Tungī in Tongatapu included Tatakamotonga and Fua’amotu where the Fua’amotu Domestic and International airports situated.

Mango was commonly referred to in Tongan as “peito ‘o palasi” or the palace’s kitchen. Mango residents have royal duties which included providing food and fish to the palace. The residents always referred to their island as part of the palace.

The revelation comes after unconfirmed reports that the people of Kanokupolu in Tongatapu may be evacuated to the king’s estate of Mataki’eua in the central south of Nuku’alofa.

Kaniva News is seeking confirmation of the reports.

Mataki’eua estate is a huge area of land with only the king’s villa on top of its large extended height, and a few people living at its southern side.

Telai Tutuila, 65, of Mango and Maumi Lauaki of Nomuka were among the three people reported dead. The other was British woman Angela Glover, 50, who lived in Nuku’alofa.

The homes and all the belongings of 62 people from Mango Island were washed away, so they have been taken to Nomuka.  However food and water are now both running low on Nomuka, and the group is likely to be taken on to Tongatapu Island, RNZ said.

Eight people on Nomuka Island were injured and another six people had minor injuries (four on Fonoi Island, and two on Tungua Island).

Tongan naval vessels have returned to Tongatapu Island, bringing a person from the Ha’apai island group who needed emergency medical treatment.

The health centre on Nomuka was washed away by the tsunami, so a field hospital has been set up on the island.

CBS has reported that two people drowned in Peru when the tsunami generated by the eruption crossed the Pacific.

Despite warnings from officials to stay away from Northern California beaches, rescue crews pulled five people to safety after they ventured too close to ocean waters churned up by the surge from Saturday’s tsunami.

Tsunami advisories issued Saturday for the entire U.S. West Coast and Alaska have since been lifted.


Almost 85 percent of Tonga’s population of about 105,000 people has been affected by last weekend’s volcanic eruption and tsunami.

Telephone communications between the islands are still a major challenge, the government said, but some islands are using radio to communicate and a new radio station is being established to help with communications.

NASA has estimated that the volcanic explosion was equivalent to five to six million tonnes of TNT,  500 times as powerful as the nuclear explosion that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Meanwhile, naval vessels from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are delivering supplies to the kingdom.

The harbour at Nuku’alofa is being surveyed by naval specialists to assess damage caused by the tsunami.

Because of fears of contamination of water supplies by volcanic ash, aid shipments have included water. HMS Spey and HMAS Adelaide are both carrying is carrying drinking water.

France 24 has reported that the Tonga Red Cross Society has prepared stockpiles of supplies to support 1200 households, However, these will need to be replenished in the coming days and weeks.


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