Pita Taufatofua, Tongo's Olympic flag-bearer -- the one who has gone viral for arriving at the ceremonies shirtless -- is giving back to his home island. Tonga was home to a volcanic eruption and tsunami earlier in January that left damage across the island. In response, Taufatofua started a Go Fund Me page to help those impacted by the natural disasters.
He has since raised over $460,000. The money has come from over 8,000 donors as of Wednesday morning. On the Go Fund Me page, Taufatofua wrote that the money raised will be used to help victims, repair infrastructure, schools and hospitals.
Here's part of what Taufatofua wrote on the page:
"... In preparation and through the recovery efforts we are seeking your donations to help our island Kingdom ... I am currently in training camp in Australia but am imobilising all the assistance I can to send to our beloved Tonga. In the coming days, weeks we will need your help. Initial priority for the funds will go towards those most in need, infrastructure and damage to schools, hospitals etc. This is an ongoing fundraiser and will be updated regularly. Your assistance and support in this time of need is greatly appreciated."
Following the numerous donations, Taufatofua thanked all who helped, saying "In the time of need you stood up and stepped forward. We appreciate you all."
The damage on the island was caused after an undersea volcano erupted on Saturday. The eruption caused an ash cloud and a tsunami. The natural disaster killed at least three people on the island. The impact of the tsunami was felt in Japan, as well as the west coast of the United States.
Taufatofua will compete at the upcoming Beijing Olympics in cross-country skiing.