Australian and New Zealand aircraft carrying humanitarian aid have landed in Tonga to help the Pacific nation recover from the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami. Source: SBS News.
An RAAF C-17 plane left Australia on Thursday morning carrying shelter, hygiene kits, equipment for people clearing ash and water containers.
A Royal NZ Air Force C-130 Hercules carried aid supplies including water, temporary shelters, generators and communications equipment.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the planes are delivering equipment to help rebuild Tonga’s communication network after a vital underwater cable was damaged during the submarine volcano eruption which sparked a tsunami.
“We are working closely with Tonga and listening to their needs and their requests,” Mr Dutton told 2GB on Thursday.
The HMAS Adelaide is also ready to be deployed from Brisbane, loaded with humanitarian and disaster relief supplies, along with critical equipment to help recovery efforts. Three Chinook helicopters have also been loaded onto the ship.
It’s expected the voyage to Tonga will take five days, and the ship will serve as a base for relief work.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga has described the damage from the tsunami as catastrophic.
Rachael Moore said many buildings on small islands had been destroyed and that freshwater contamination following the tsunami had caused significant issues.
Complicating matters are Tonga’s pandemic border measures which have kept the Pacific nation COVID-free. Disaster relief efforts are expected to be led by locals to avoid a spread of virus cases.