Don’t Let Volcano Eruption Cause Food Shortage Crisis

Target: Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni, Prime Minister of Tonga

Goal: Lift ban on foreign aid workers in wake of devastating natural disaster.

Planet Earth was recently rocked by its biggest volcanic eruption in decades. When underwater Hunga Tonga -Hunga Ha’apai let loose near Tonga, it spewed ash for hundreds of miles and unleashed tsunamis and shockwaves. The devastating effects are still being felt to this day by Tonga’s people.

The blankets of ash were especially devastating because countless crops were destroyed. Native plants and wildlife were very likely also poisoned to varying degrees by the toxic components of the ash. The economic damage from all of the destruction has only compounded the plight of communities. Food insecurity is soaring as a result.

Several nations have supplied humanitarian aid, but some efforts have reportedly been hampered and in some cases turned away. Like many Pacific Island regions, Tonga has maintained low COVID-19 rates. In an effort to keep this status, they have prohibited foreign aid workers from entering the country. The lack of direct on-the-ground support may be significantly hampering efforts to get populations the resources and supplies they need in a timely manner.

Sign the petition below to urge this cautious government to revise its approach and enhance aid opportunities.


Dear Prime Minister Sovaleni,

Food insecurity is becoming a dangerous epidemic within Tonga, and it may be worsened by your efforts to curb another epidemic. The January volcano eruption began a humanitarian crisis that could linger indefinitely without urgent aid. Preventing this aid from reaching your nation will prolong the suffering.

Aims to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 are certainly understandable, but these efforts must be measured against the other critical problems facing the country. Do not ban aid workers from other nations, and certainly do not turn back their supplies. You could allow these workers entry under the strict condition that they are masked and vaccinated.

You can combat both these crises without sacrificing the mutual goal of protecting and helping the people.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brent Keane

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