Australia, New Zealand and Japan deliver relief supplies to Tonga after volcanic eruption – Archyde

Humanitarian aid is unloaded from a C-17A Globemaster III at the airport near Nuku’alofa, Tonga on Thursday. Photo by LACW Emma Schwenke/RAAF/EPA-EFE

Jan. 22 (UPI) – Australia, New Zealand and Japan have provided aid amid drinking water shortages in Tonga after a 4-foot tsunami following an underwater volcano blast last week.

Australian aid also included medicines, cleaning equipment and telecommunications infrastructure, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said. said in an update Saturday morning.

“Australian-donated landing craft VOEA Late has been distributing food, water and shelter to communities in Tonga who need it from Australia’s offshore supplies,” he said tweeted Friday. “Three RAAF [Royal Australian Air Force] Flights with additional supplies have now landed to step up the relief effort.”

In addition to Australian flights, planes carrying aid from New Zealand and Japan landed on Saturday, Seselja said, and ships from the United States and Britain were on their way.

Seselja added that Tonga’s High Commissioner, Rachael Moore, and her staff had done an “extraordinary job”.

“The Defense Forces and others are doing an excellent job of cleanup and coordination,” he said.

Seselja also said HMAS Adelaide, which will be deployed from Australia, “will arrive in the next few days” as a “big asset” carrying helicopters, engineers, a 40-bed hospital, power generators and water purification technology.

Fiji military personnel, consisting of engineers, medics and other specialists, are working with Australia to assist with rehabilitation and further assessment in Tonga. Xinhua reported.

The Fijian military commander Maj.-Gen. Ro Jone Kalouniwai told Xinhua on Saturday that the island nation’s soldiers will be on the scene within 10 days, adding that this could change depending on the level of rehabilitation required.

The Fijian soldiers have completed their isolation period before departure, tested negative for COVID-19 and fully vaccinated with a booster shot, the commander added.

About 12,000 households have been affected by the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami that hit Tonga last weekend. according to estimates by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The UN office also confirmed that the economically vital agricultural sector, including grain, livestock and fisheries, has suffered significantly, particularly from ash fall on crops.

The Tonga government confirmed three deaths from the two natural disasters.

Families were able to make first contact with loved ones earlier this week after limited communications were restored. This was reported by TVNZ 1 News. The outbreak on January 15th separated Tonga’s underwater fiber optic cable that connected the remote nation to the outside world.

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