Tonga tsunami caused disaster in 3 small islands


“It was truly a special experience,” Ms Dorning Sands, who said she was in the waters off the Philippines, said in a post. She recalled children going out to meet their boat at Nomuka, pigs roaming free on Mango and seeing whales every day.

“At one point we had whales all around the boat,” Ms Dorning Sands said. “We were so careful not to hit them, because they were everywhere!”

In Mango, where around 35 people lived before the tsunami, Ms Dorning Sands visited the school: a single building, brightly decorated with student work and with a reading corner. There she met the school’s 13 students, aged 3 to 13, and her only teacher, who introduced himself as John.

“When we asked if they had a store on the island, he said, ‘We have everything we need here. We don’t need a store. We can grow our food, we have pigs and we catch fish,” she said. “For anything else, they can go to another island.”

Mote Pahulu, who was born in Nomuka and grew up in Mango, told New Zealand news outlet Newshub that the woman killed in Mango was married to one of her cousins.

“We are absolutely devastated. Not only have we lost a relative, a very close relative, but everything else on the tiny island is gone,” said Mr Pahulu, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. “It was a beautiful little island, it was a little paradise.”

Yan Zhuang contributed report.

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