It has been two weeks since we launched our Tonga Appeal following the devastation caused by the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami. The damage to the islands was catastrophic. Homes and livelihoods destroyed, no clean running water, little food and covered in a layer of volcanic ash. Schools and sports fields have been decimated. Three people have died and the Tongan government estimates that 84% of the country have been affected.

The international community has been quick to respond, and we are pleased to see aid flowing freely into the country. There is now a running supply of water as well as emergency shelter. However, communications from Tonga are still patchy and irregular, and it is proving difficult to get an up-to-date picture of the situation on the ground.

Over the past two weeks, Atlas have been speaking to members of the Tongan Community, including from the rugby family. Atlas has been in regular contact with Wasps player Malakai Fekitoa as well as Atlas Champion Mako Vunipola, who we are speaking with to identify communities with whom we can work. Atlas has also been communicating with Friends of Tonga, an International NGO dedicated to supporting the country. Following speaking to these individuals, Atlas is concerned that in a few months, when the global news agenda has moved on, there’ll be little in the way of long-term support.

Following these discussions, Malakai and Manu will be introducing Atlas to local leaders in the Tongan community, where we will be focusing on supporting them in the medium and long-term. Although we are unsure of what this entails in practice, we expect to be working alongside communities to re-build damaged structures and provide educational and sporting equipment for the communities who have lost everything.

We have been overwhelmed by the support of the rugby family, raising over £3,500 for the appeal. Atlas will be working with communities on the ground to re-build after the immediate crisis as well as offering our long-term support, putting structures in place that will give children the chance to thrive. We are committed to reporting back to you, our donors, about where your money is going. Please keep up-to-date by following us on our social media pages and look out for emails in your inbox. 

Thank you for your support. Together, we are working with the communities that need it most and giving children a chance to thrive.


Picture Credits: NZ Defence Force,