On Saturday, 15 January, an underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami at Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, 65 km north of the Kingdom of Tonga’s main island Tongatapu, caused waves of 1.2 m to force residents to flee to higher ground. The eruption caused shockwaves worldwide. It could be heard more than 10,000 km away in Alaska.
The World Methodist Council (WMC) officers stand in solidarity with the people of Tonga and the Pacific Islands who have been affected by the tsunami. Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the WMC, noted the concerns of Tongan government officials who did not want another wave – “a tsunami of Covid-19” to accompany aid to the island. He, however, encouraged the Wesleyan/Methodist family to keep the Tongan people in their prayers and mobilize the Methodist relief agencies to work together with the government and churches in Tonga. Abrahams also encouraged Methodists to consider giving to UMCOR and other church agencies in New Zealand and Australia as they respond to the situation in Tonga and the Pacific Islands.
We continue to pray for the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga and all people in the Pacific Islands in the day ahead as they deal with the tsunami’s impact.
Donations to support disaster relief can be given through the United Methodist Committee on Relief.