UNICEF – Ministry of Internal Affairs launch TOP1.5million Humanitarian Cash Transfer Programme

17 October 2022

Tonga 17 October 2022 – UNICEF and the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a new social protection initiative on Humanitarian Cash Transfers today. The TOP 1.5 million funding will support Tongan families affected by the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami.

Around 84 per cent of the total population were affected by the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcanic eruption, including around 36,500 children. The Humanitarian Cash Transfer programme aims to help the most vulnerable families and their children to access critical goods and essential services, while strengthening the existing national shock responsive social protection system.

“I would like to thank UNICEF for supporting The Government of Tonga with Humanitarian Cash Transfers social protection in response to Hunga Tonga Hunga Haa’pai underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami. This cash transfer top up is very timely and will provide much needed financial assistance to those vulnerable communities, especially the affected families and people with disabilities in accessing basic goods and services,” said Hon. Minister for Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea.

“This assistance compliments recovery efforts of the Government of Tonga from the disaster as well as from the impacts of COVID-19. Humanitarian Cash Transfers intervention will also contribute towards long term vision of building a resilient inclusive shock responsive social protection system in Tonga to response to the future shocks and natural disasters.”

The Humanitarian Cash Transfers will enable the Ministry of Internal Affairs and UNICEF to support over 3,000 beneficiaries and their children, with priority given to highly affected areas in Tongatapu, Eua and Ha'apai, to recover from the impacts of these recent natural disasters.

The cash transfers will be distributed to 750 affected households, and 2,467 people with disabilities, including 273 children with disabilities. Each beneficiary will receive two rounds of TOP200, while children with disabilities will receive TOP300. 

“Humanitarian Cash Transfers such as these provide crucial support to the people who need it the most,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “Instead of turning to negative coping strategies, thousands of vulnerable children and their families will now have the means to access the basic services and goods that they need.”

The Humanitarian Cash Transfer initiative is supported by the Australian Committee for UNICEF, the United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF and the United States Fund for UNICEF and plays a key role in supporting the ongoing recovery efforts. The initiative will strengthen the national capacity and build a resilient shock responsive social protection system to cope with the aftermath of the destructive effects of natural disasters. 


About the Ministry of Internal Affairs: 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs consolidates policies relevant to social and community development and delivers functions pertinent to creating the enabling environment of poverty alleviation and inclusivity. Ministry complements the efforts of other Line Ministries in promoting strong inclusive communities through social service demands and in ensuring equitable distribution of development benefits. For more information about Ministry of Internal Affairs and its work , click here.

For more information, please contact: 

Lu'isa Manuofetoa, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Tel:+676 7401000, lmanuofetoa2015@gmail.com

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 9988137


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook