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Tonga billowing ashes from volcanic eruption

Where is Tonga located?

TongaThe Pacific island region of Polynesia is where the archipelago is located. It can be found east of Fiji, south Samoa, and north of New Zealand. The archipelago, formerly known as the Friendship Islands, belongs to the Pacific Ring of FireA volcanic belt that runs around the Pacific Rim. The total area of the island nation is 747 km2 (288.54 sq miles). It is comprised of 172 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The tropical climate on Tonga is roughly divided into two seasons, a hot and humid phase from December to April and a rainy season from May through November.

Who lives in Tonga

The archipelago’s 36 inhabited island are home to approximately 105,000 people. Ninety-seven percent of the population is Polynesian, 3% are Chinese, European and residents of other Pacific islands, according to a 2016 census. With an average age of 24 years, the population is young. In comparison, the average age in Australia is 38, and 44 in Germany.

Why are there so many earthquakes in Tonga??

Earthquakes and tsunamis occur repeatedly along the 40,000-kilometer-long Pacific Ring of Fire. The 2021 World Risk Report by Bündnis Entwicklung hilft, an alliance of nine German development and relief organizations, ranks Tonga third among the countries with the highest risk of an extreme natural event turning into a disaster.

Tonga billowing ashes from volcanic eruption

The sky was sprayed with ashes by a volcanic eruption

Tonga has been the victim of three natural disasters over the past 12 year. Tonga was shaken by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake on February 13, 2010. Two days later, a strong cyclone swept across Tonga with winds of up to 228 km/h (137 MPH).

The archipelago was devastated by a hurricane on January 11, 2014. It impacted the Ha’apai islands and Lifuka, the main island. Hunga Tonga Ha’apai, an underground volcanic active from time-to-time, erupted once more on January 15, 2022, triggering another seaquake.

Rising sea levels, a rise in floods and hurricanes as a result of global climate change are some of the country’s most serious environmental problems. According to the World Bank’s Climate Portal extreme weather events will continue intensifying in the coming decades, according to the World Bank.

What kind of an economy does Tonga have?

Tonga is a lower middle income country (MIC) according the World Bank. MICs are countries that have a per capita income between $1,036 to $12,535 annually.

The country’s economy is facing a crisis. Tourism, the country’s second most important source for foreign currency income, almost stopped during the coronavirus epidemic, which imposed strict entry bans. The country’s highly developed agricultural sector, which accounts for nearly one fifth of its gross domestic product, is affected by weather events and fluctuations in world market prices. Vanilla and fish are the most important export products currently.

The country’s No. However, the country’s No. 1 source of income is remittances sent by Tongans who work abroad, particularly in New Zealand and Hawaii. Money sent from Tongans working overseas increased from $102 million (€ 89.4)  to $142 million between 2014 and 2020, according to The Global Economy platform.

Who governs Tonga

Since 1875, Tonga is a constitutional hereditary monarchy. It was annexed to Britain in 1970. The majority of the members of parliament were elected in November 2010 by direct popular vote. Since December 15, 2021, the country has been  led by a new government under Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni, elected by parliament and officially appointed by King Tupou VI.

Children up to the age of 12 are required to go to school, fees for secondary schools are low, and scholarships are available for further education abroad. The literacy rate is 98%.  The University of the South Pacific is run by 11 island states and Tonga together.

Germany and Tonga signed a “perpetual friend treaty” in 1876, under King George Tupou II. This was renewed by the Federal Republic of Germany on 1977. Tonga is an independent Commonwealth member and has been a member since 1999.

This article was translated from German.

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