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Tonga finally reconnects with the world after a disastrous event

FILE PHOTO: Members of Tonga's Red Cross society set up a temporary tent in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, January 23, 2022. Tonga Red Cross Society/Handout via REUTERS

After the unimaginable calamity destroyed the communication between Tonga and the rest of the world, on Tuesday finally the hopes of the people on the remote island were restored. 

The news: The submarine cable was repaired on Tuesday which had cut the communications. 

  • While the cable was damaged, Tongans even struggled with makeshift satellite services. 

What has happened: The repair ship, Reliance replaced a 92-kilometre (57-mile) section of the 827-kilometre submarine fiber optic cable. The team onboard took around 20 days to fix the cable. 

  • The submarine cable connects Tonga to Fiji and other international networks.
  • Tonga thanked the telecommunications companies in neighboring Pacific islands, especially New Caledonia, which provided lengths of cable when Tonga ran out.
  • The next job would be to repair the domestic cable connecting the main island of Tongatapu with outlying islands that were worst hit by the tsunami, which could take six to nine months. 

What are they saying: “People on the main island will have access almost immediately,” Tonga Cable chief executive James Panuve said. 

  • “First post on Facebook since January 15th! So Blessed for the opportunity! Malo Tonga Cable & Tonga Government!” Panuve wrote. 
  • “We don’t have enough cable,” he added.
  • The Digicel Tonga chief executive, Anthony Seuseu said in a statement that the company would look at increasing investment and network optimization to prepare better for a catastrophic event… in the future.
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