Briton still waiting to speak to parents after tsunami cuts off Tonga
Siniva Filise, 42, from Barry, Wales, is ‘desperate’ to speak to her parents Fakahau Valu, 73, and Lioneti Valu, 66, who live in tsunami-hit Tonga after the eruption of an underwater volcano.
A woman whose parents live in Tonga is ‘desperate’ to speak to them as international communication with the island remains cut off following a tsunami.
Nearly a week later, many families are still unable to contact loved ones after an undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific country on January 15.
The eruption sent catastrophic waves to its shores, damaging ocean cables.
Siniva Filise, 42, who lives in Barry, Wales, has been trying to contact her father Fakahau Valu, 73, and mother Lioneti Valu, 66, since Saturday.
Ms Filise was told her parents were “safe and healthy” on Sunday, after messaging a former colleague on the island who works for the armed forces and has access to satellite connectivity.
But nearly a week later, she couldn’t speak to them directly.
The mother-of-three said it had been “one of the most difficult times” of her life.
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“I messaged my friend and she managed to speak to my mum, who said they are fine and sending their love,” she said.
“The way our communication went looks complicated, but that’s how we (have to) do it now until we manage to talk to them directly. However, I’m desperate to talk to them.”
Ms Filise said her brother, who lives in New Zealand, has put together a package of ‘basic necessities’ such as food and water, which will leave on Monday on a shipping container organized by the Tongan committee NZ Relief.
“But he had no way of contacting my parents to let them know this was happening to them,” Ms Filise said.
She was speaking after it was announced UK-funded aid was heading to Tonga to help the relief effort with supplies, including nearly 100 tents, aboard the Navy’s HMAS Adelaide Australian.
The Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, HMS Spey, is also due to sail from Tahiti to Tonga with water and medical supplies.
NEW ZEALAND DEFENSE FORCE/AFP vi)
UN humanitarian officials estimate that around 84,000 people, more than 80% of Tonga’s population, have been affected by the eruption of the submarine volcano, which has caused death, injury, loss houses and water pollution.
British charity worker Angela Glover, 50, from Brighton, East Sussex, died after she was swept away trying to save the dogs she cared for at her animal shelter on the island.
Meanwhile, Tongan Olympian and Games standard bearer Pita Taufatofua said on Friday his 74-year-old father had returned after going missing during the tsunami.
He thanked well-wishers and described how his father, Dr. Pita Faiva Taufatofua, who is the governor of the Haapai Islands, entered the family home nearly a week later to “everyone’s shock”.
“Turns out right after the tsunami he boarded the Navy boat heading to Haapai to help,” Mr Taufatofua tweeted.
“He was working in salvage and first response with the Navy at the ripe old age of 74 and saw all the destruction with his own eyes…Very proud of this man!”
Mr Taufatofua, who became widely recognized after being his country’s flag bearer at the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2018 Winter Olympics, trains in Australia and has raised more than £300,000 for the disaster effort.
His GoFundMe page can be accessed here.