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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Tonga’s nascent economic recovery following Tropical Cyclone Harold and border closures in early 2020 has been severely disrupted by a double blow from the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcanic eruption and the first local outbreak of COVID-19 at the start of 2022. The authorities are augmenting reconstruction and restoration efforts, with support from the international community. Real GDP is projected to contract by 1.9 percent in FY2022 (July 2021–June 2022), before rebounding by 3.2 percent in FY2023 with a gradual reopening of international borders.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

1. Tonga was hit by a powerful volcanic eruption on January 15, 2022. The explosion from the underwater Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) volcano took place just 41 miles north of the country's main island, Tongatapu, and was the largest recorded globally since 1883.1 The ensuing tsunami and ashfalls caused extensive property, infrastructure, and agriculture damages, estimated at 19.2 percent of FY2021 GDP (excluding potential economic losses due to disruptions in economic activity).2 As a result, about 2 percent of the total population was displaced from their homes immediately following the disaster. The undersea fiber-optic cable to Tonga was also severed for nearly a month immediately following the tsunami, resulting in disruptions of telecommunication services and remittance inflows.3 The international community swiftly responded and provided essential humanitarian relief supplies, such as food, water supply systems, and vaccines, as well as emergency transportation and communication services.

Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Robin Koepke, and Jasper Verschuur
This paper proposes an easy-to-follow approach to track merchandise trade using vessel data and applies it to Pacific island countries. Pacific islands rely heavily on imports and maritime transport for trade. They are also highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters that pose risks to ports and supply chains. Using satellite-based vessel tracking data from the UN Global Platform, we construct daily indicators of port and trade activity for Pacific island countries. The algorithm significantly advances estimation techniques of previous studies, particularly by employing ways to overcome challenges with the estimation of cargo payloads, using detailed information on shipping liner schedules to validate port calls, and applying country-specific information to define port boundaries. The approach can complement and help fill gaps in official data, provide early warning signs of turning points in economic activity, and assist policymakers and international organizations to monitor and provide timely responses to shocks (e.g., COVID-19).