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Local immigrants are unsure about the fate of friends and loved ones following the volcano and tsunami.

COURTESY: NEW PORTLAND FOUNDATION - The poster for the Saturday gathering.The public is invited to a community gathering to support local Tongans impacted by the volcanic eruption near their home country.

A shared meal will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Rose City Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2215 N.E. 106th Ave., Portland.

The gathering is intended to support local Tongan families who are suffering because they cannot contact friends and families in the region affected by the last Sunday's large eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai and the subsequent tidal wave.

Ronault LS Catalani (Polo), exec director of New Portland Foundation New NW Communities Council, Pacific islander, including Tongans, are the metro-area's "fastest swelling ethnic minority stream. Their displacement was set in motion by climate change and rising seas for reasons island nations did not cause and cannot manage," he said. "Their dislocation is further troubled today by not knowing what's happening to families back home, and not knowing what will happen to their islands' economies after rescue and recovery assistance operations end. That's a lot of not-knowing."

Other sponsors of the event include the General Consul of the Federated States of Micronesia, a neighboring island nation; the Metro Council; the cities of Beaverton and Portland; the Immigrant and Refugee Community of Oregon; the Pacific Islander and Asian Family Center; the Muslim Educational Trust; and a growing number of other local community organizations, philanthropies, businesses, and faith and civil society associations.

Families are welcome. Everyone will be invited to eat as much or as little as they please. Participants are asked to please wear a mask and maintain proper distancing in compliance with county and state public health professional's guidelines for being in each other's company.

For information: Kolini Fusitu'a, 503-984-9989 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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