Tongan relief effort in Anchorage being coordinated with support of mayor, governor, Polynesians across region

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The Polynesian community in Alaska is rallying to support the people of Tonga with a fundraising effort underway to help the Pacific islanders recover from the tsunami caused by a volcanic eruption on an uninhabited island in the Tongan archipelago on Jan. 14-15.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced their support of the relief efforts, including asking those who are able to donate specific items, including flour, granulated sugar, batteries (AA or larger), flashlights, portable camping tents to Manai Fou Assembly of God Church, 2600 16th Ave., Anchorage.

Donations will be received this Tuesday and Wednesday from noon until 8 pm. Those items will be shipped to Tonga from the West Coast, said Junior Aumavae, chief equity officer for the Municipality of Anchorage. Shipping logistics are still being worked on, he said.

People can also make an online donation at Polynesian Association of Alaska, which will forward the funds to Samaritan’s Purse, a relief organization that will be moving needed supplies by cargo plane to Tonga.

Financial assistance will also be used locally to purchase satellite phones so that Tongans in Alaska can communicate with their relatives in Tonga, who are cut off from the world in every other form of communication. Each satellite phone costs $1,778.

The Polynesian Association of Alaska is spearheading efforts, along with the Governor’s Office and the Municipality of Anchorage’s Portia Erickson, Terrance Shanigan, and Junior Aumavae to coordinate shipment of donations with Samaritan’s Purse and others.

Donation can also be made to the following organizations:

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Act for Peace

CARE

Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Plan International

World Food Program (WFP)

InterAction

GlobalGiving