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Tonga Volcano Relief: Rita

Seafood, coastal village on Tongatapu

Rita is a 26 year old mother to her three children. Her husband is still away due to seasonal work overseas. Their main source of income was the ocean, and it is the only business that they run, together with the help of her parents. They sell seafood at their own little market stall along the main road in their village.

On January 15, 2022, Rita witnessed the power of nature when the HTHH volcano erupted and triggered numerous tsunamis that hit the coastal areas of Tongatapu. The village where Rita lives is one of the coastal villages on Tongatapu, and it was one of the most affected villages. Due to its low-lying area, the tsunami waves rushed inland forcefully, causing uncountable damages to both small businesses as well as homes. Rita’s house fully collapsed due to the strong waves. “We faced many challenges after the disaster. Not only that I lost my home, but food was scarce, and we were told by the government not to conduct any form of fishing or eat anything from the ocean, for it is not safe. Not only that, but we were in need of water. Financial problems also introduced, for selling seafood was our only source of income. It was not long until aid came, and we started to feel at ease. Thanks to SPBD for the relief kit and the rehabilitation loan.”

Rita applied for a Rehabilitation loan of TOP $4000 to help with the rebuilding of their temporary hut. “I decided to take the loan and build a temporary hut for us (including her parents), and the loan also helped to provide for my family during this difficult time. Some of the loan money was also used to revive my business, for everything was washed away including my freezer and the bins used in my business. This rehabilitation loan was very vital to me and my family, for it was a comfort zone during hardship. Our hut is not much, for we did not have enough money, but we have a roof that can shelter us and keep us warm. It is our future plan to build a bigger and better house when we have the amount of money needed.”

This rehabilitation loan was very vital to me and my family, for it was a comfort zone during hardship

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