SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Tongan community still has no way to talk to their loved ones on their island nation according to Parliament Speaker Lord Fakafanua.
Utahns a part of that community have been waiting days to hear from their family and assess the damage caused by Saturday’s tsunami.
ABC4 talked with Soane Afeaki who is a tough guy, but this situation has him turning to prayer and love as his family is struggling in Tonga.
He’s 1 of 11 and most of his family still lives in Tonga.
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake produced a tsunami causing three to four feet waves to hit the Pacific Island nation of Tonga.
“That’s all we can do is pray,” says Afeaki. “Pray for our families back in a Tonga to be safe.”
The main island was hit the hardest.
It’s only about three times bigger than West Valley City.
“We live as a community,” Afeaki continues. “We help each other. It’s such a small community; a huge Tongan community.”
Afeaki has five kids and 16 grandchildren saying the Tongan roots run deep throughout his family.
He told ABC4 about the last phone call he had with his sisters before the tsunami hit.
“They are scared,” Afeaki shares. “We had to go. We have to pack. That is all we heard from the government. Ready, go, pack whatever and drive to higher ground so that’s all we gotta go. Hang up.”
Afeaki said there has been zero communication since that phone call, which was Friday morning.
“It is the worst thing that we don’t hear from them about what is going on even the government nothing,” Afeaki explains.
Afeaki said he is just waiting to hear from his family and friends.