ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund: Rebuilding Tonga's Table Tennis Community

On the fateful day of January 15, 2022, disaster struck the beautiful island nation of Tonga. The Hunga Tonga volcano erupted, casting a blanket of black ash over the entire country, and triggering a devastating tsunami. Amidst this chaos, the Tonga Table Tennis Association found itself during their National Championship. This natural disaster disrupted lives, homes, and communities, leaving the people of Tonga in dire need of help and hope.

According to a report on UN’s website, more than 80 per cent of the population of the region, were affected by the disaster. In the face of this adversity, the ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund (ERF), supported by Butterfly emerged as a source of hope, aiding the Tonga Table Tennis Association and its affected community.

The Eruption and Tsunami

Tonga was plunged into darkness as the Hunga Tonga volcano erupted just after 5 pm. The skies turned as black as night, and the land was covered with pebbles and a thick layer of ash. The eruption triggered a tsunami that wreaked havoc on the western end of the main island and several low-lying islands of the 'Eua and Ha'apai group. It was a terrifying ordeal that left people unable to contact their loved ones, both locally and internationally, causing immense psychological and emotional stress that lingers to this day.

The Role of the ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, the ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund stepped in to provide much-needed support. This contribution is instrumental in helping the affected communities rebuild their lives, particularly the young people, girls, boys, and adults who find themselves in evacuation centers.

By providing the opportunity to play table tennis, the ERF including Butterfly's contribution aim to improve the mental well-being of the community and be a part of the positive rebuilding of their lives. The stress of leaving their home islands and living in a different land permanently has taken a toll, especially on the elderly.

Supporting Staff, Board Members, and Volunteers

The volcanic eruption and tsunami left no one untouched. Staff, board members, and volunteers of the Tonga Table Tennis Association also experienced damage to their homes. The financial contributions provided by the ERF will help these dedicated individuals and their families recover and rebuild their lives.

To alleviate some of their hardships, the Tonga Table Tennis Association plans to provide small financial assistance to these individuals, helping them cope with the rising costs of living.

Furthermore, the equipment attained through Butterfly's support will facilitate the implementation of table tennis programs for displaced groups from small islands destroyed by the tsunami.

Preserving Equipment and Hosting Regional Events

In the midst of this catastrophe, the Tonga Table Tennis Association's storage facility, housing international standard equipment, was partially damaged. Recognizing the importance of these resources for hosting regional events and implementing development programs, the TTTF aims to improve their storage facilities to prevent further damage to their equipment.

The story of Tonga's resilience in the face of natural disaster and the support extended by the ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund, along with Butterfly's generous equipment donation, is a testament to the power of solidarity and compassion. Through table tennis, this small island nation is not only rebuilding its physical infrastructure but also mending the hearts and minds of its people.

We extend our deepest gratitude to Butterfly for their support which enabled the ITTF Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund to show unwavering commitment to the people of Tonga. Together, we stand as a symbol of hope and recovery, proving that even in the darkest times, the human spirit can prevail.


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