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Natural disasters

Tonga's recovery effort hampered by COVID lockdown, 1 month on

World Bank pegs economic damage from eruption at nearly a fifth of GDP

Tonga's recovery efforts have stalled in the face of disrupted communications and a COVID-19 outbreak.   © Reuters

SYDNEY -- Tonga's first outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown have complicated the island nation's recovery from the volcanic eruption of a month ago.

"There has been a big cleanup, but the cleanup is not finished," said Mary Lyn Fonua, managing editor of the Matangi Tonga Online news website, in a telephone interview Monday. There is "still more work to do and the ash affects the drainage on the roads, so when it rained, [there was] a lot of flooding," Fonua said.

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