Caritas Tonga offers counseling after ferry tragedy

Survivors of Princess Ashika pray after their arrival at Fu'amotu airport August 7, 2009. The number of people missing after a ferry sank off the coast of the Pacific Island.  REUTERS/Matangi Tonga Online (TONGA DISASTER) REUTERS/HO

Survivors of Princess Ashika pray after their arrival at Fu'amotu airport August 7, 2009. REUTERS/Matangi Tonga Online (TONGA DISASTER) REUTERS/HO

Caritas has set up a trauma counseling team in Tonga to offer support to victims and families after a recent ferry disaster.

The Princess Ashika capsized 86km north-east of the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa on 5 August with 149 people on board.

Two bodies and 54 survivors have been found, while 93 people remain missing and are presumed drowned after being trapped in the vessel.

Caritas Tonga had established a trauma counseling team to help out after this incident.

Senolita Vakata of Caritas Tonga said, “The Ashika ferry disaster has affected the whole community. Men, women, and children were trapped in the boat as it sank. A Caritas staff member lost his wife, son, daughter and grandchild in the tragedy.

“Caritas has set up a professional counseling unit to offer help to the survivors and to the families of the victims based in Caritas house and also moving out to the villagers and outer islands.”

1 Comment

Filed under Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Oceania, Tonga

One response to “Caritas Tonga offers counseling after ferry tragedy

  1. You might be interested in this. We used this story to help Sichuan earthquake victims. The story deals with trauma lightly and teaches children how to recover in an engaging way. Leads to many opportunities to discuss with caregiver.

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