ANZ staff and their immediate family in Tonga were safe and unharmed, although ash continues to be a major challenge.
“It has been an exhausting week but I have never been more proud to work with a team that is so dedicated - to still turn up to the office to serve customers, even when their own property has been damaged,” David says.
“It has been very windy with ash everywhere, so staff are wearing masks and gloves, and keeping hydrated.”
“It will be a massive cleanup, but we are taking it one day at a time.”
Despite the scale of the disruption, and significant damage to the Southern Cross communications cable, ANZ’s branches have been able to re-open after an extensive cleaning effort.
“Many of our customers will need assistance and I have assured them we are here to support,” says David.
“We have either visited or made contact with all our customers, with the exception of the outer islands, where communications are still down.”
A global aid effort is currently underway, with a number of nations including New Zealand and Australia sending vessels to Tonga.
Aid agencies such as the Red Cross and many Tongans outside the country are also preparing to send food and other materials.
“We remain strong and committed, and pray the worst is over,” says David.
On January 17th 2022 ANZ announced it would donate AUD50,000 to the Red Cross, to support Tonga’s rebuild.