Tongan community in Bay Area concerned of loved ones’ situation following disastrous volcanic eruption

2 mins read

It was a surge of emotions for several people in the Tongan community.

A disturbing tsunami has hit the nearby island country of Tonga following the eruption of an underwater volcano in the South Pacific, a report by ABC7 said.

The impact even reached 5, 400 miles away, and was felt in California.

Currently in the Bay Area, Tongans said that they did not receive any update from their friends and family.

First Tongan Assembly of God church pastor in San Carlos, Reverend Vaka Taimani, has a son in Tonga.

“We still trust that, even though we haven’t heard from them for almost 24 hours now. But we believe and have hope that something good is going to come out from this,” he said.

This image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga. 
(Japan Meteorology Agency via NPR and the AP)

He shared the same story with several Tongans in the region.

“Family is a huge thing in the Polynesian culture and so, if a couple families are being affected, it affects us all,” said Michelle Tamasese, who works in a Tongan grocery store and restaurant located in Redwood City.

She feels bad for the people who were in the country when the disaster happened. “You can’t help but wonder how they’re going to be able to rebuild right after this,” she said.

Hope, however, remains that the community will survive amid the hardships, as shared by those who talked to ABC7.

Reverend Taimani said people there are strong, and asks prayers for the community’s recovery.

“I’m just asking anybody who believes in God, please, remember Tonga in your prayers,” Taimani said.

Delivered weekly to your inbox📰

Stay connected with the heart of the Bay Area! Subscribe to the SF Times Friday Paper for your weekly dose of local news, events, business updates, and more from San Francisco and surrounding areas. Don't miss out on what's happening in your city.


We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

You have Successfully Subscribed!