CGTN exclusive interview with Chinese businessman in Tonga
BEIJING, Jan. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese businessman Yu Hongtao is in Tonga. During his interview with CGTN, he said dust is everywhere on the island.
“What I’ve seen so far is everyone is involved in emergency rescue and disaster relief operations,” Yu said. “Almost everyone is wearing a mask. Volcanic ash is on the streets because the ashfall lasted several hours. The ground is covered in ash, including vegetation and people’s houses.”
“Some volunteers have been cleaning up the roads, but not yet in the woods. People have just been clearing the roads,” he said.
Regarding the living conditions, including water, electricity and food supplies in Tonga, Yu things have not returned to normal yet, but there has been improvement in some areas.
He said electricity was restored in many areas within a day after the eruption knocked out power. Also, after dawn, on the day of the eruption, everyone restocked on supplies.
“I personally stocked up on water and then food and more water,” he said.
“We have enough supplies here. There isn’t any bottled water at supermarkets now, but other supplies are still available.”
Vegetables are not available at the moment. Yu said his friend who works in agriculture told him that people on the island won’t have fresh vegetables for more than a month. As for fruits, he said, “There aren’t much on the island, to begin with, only some watermelons. But even this has become scarce now.”
“I don’t think life has gotten back to normal,” Yu told CGTN.
He said the deputy prime minister has declared a state of emergency, and Tongans are joining disaster relief efforts and cleaning up volcanic ash on the roads.
“If they’re not cleaned up, they’ll fly back into the air when vehicles drive past, and they’ll land on rooftops,” he said.
“Drinking water in Tonga comes directly from the rain. Every household has a rainwater harvester installed on their roofs, so we have to make sure that all the ash is cleaned up.”