The volcanic eruption in Tonga has incurred a tsunami that has destroyed a large portion of the city. The Tongan government issued its first official statement since the volcano erupted, calling it an 'unprecedented disaster' and declaring three people dead. Hillsong's Global Senior Pastor Bobbie Houston is asking all Christians to pray for the people at Tonga.
"Mindful of our Pacific Island neighbors," Houston writes. "So for our @hillsong family - you'll be pleased to know that Ps Brian Houston has asked our team to facilitate an appeal. Stay posted. Praying for Tonga - that aid and help will be unhindered."
Bobbie's dad was from Tonga. She explains, "My dad was Tongan. He was orphaned as a child and his grandmother brought him and his two brothers to NZ when he was only five. I've never been there, but I will always hold affection towards that island and nation. I wish my dad was alive so we could talk about these things. I was too young when he passed to ask all those questions. Maybe one day in heaven."
The Tongan government has outlined the devastation that has occurred as a result of the January 15 eruption, which has damaged submarine cables creating communication outages and left many Tongan residents homeless.
All houses on Mango Island have been destroyed, and only two homes remain on Fonoifua Island, while there is 'extensive damage' on Nomuka Island.
Tonga's armed forces have been deployed to the affected areas, "with another health team, additional resources and emergency responders based on reports from the initial mission for Mango, Donoifua and Nomuka. The first consignment is headed for these islands," the statement said.
Evacuations are underway in areas, including Atata into Tongatpu and from Mango Island and Fonoifua to Nomuka Island.