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New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga

Air Movements personnel stack and secure pallets of disaster relief supplies sent to Tonga. Supplied photo.

 

New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend.

This brings New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million.

“This support will enable more crucial supplies, such as drinking water, food supplies, as well as engineering equipment and tools to clear debris, to be sent to Tonga in the coming days and weeks,” says Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The funding is additional to the $1 million Aotearoa New Zealand has already allocated to the humanitarian response.

The HMNZS Canterbury is leaving Devonport for Tonga overnight.

“The HMNZS Canterbury will have on board additional stores such as tarpaulins, water containers, milk powder, as well as engineering equipment to clear debris and two NH-90 helicopters,” says Defence Minister Peeni Henare.

Deliveries will be contactless in accordance with Tonga’s Covid-19 protocols and those involved in the relief efforts undergo testing before departure, and while on deployment.

Nanaia Mahuta says $1.5 million of the addition $2 million will go towards deploying more relief supplies on upcoming C-130 relief flights, as well as water generation capability and clean-up equipment.

“This money will also fund relief activity undertaken by local authorities and humanitarian organisations, and other requests from the Tongan Government as required,” says Mahuta.

The remaining $500,000 will go towards a New Zealand Disaster Response Partnership round for New Zealand NGOs working with local partners to support the Tonga’s response efforts.

Mahuta also spoke to her Tongan counterpart Hon Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu today to discuss relief efforts and how the two countries can work together to support relief and recovery efforts. It followed a call yesterday between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Tongan Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni.

“We discussed the significant challenges Tonga has in looking after its people as it cleans up after this disaster. I have assured her that we stand by to offer more assistance when needed,” says Mahuta.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying relief supplies landed in Tonga yesterday afternoon and more flights are scheduled.

HMNZS Wellington also arrived in Tonga yesterday and hydrographers were immediately deployed to survey approaches to Nuku’alofa in preparation HMNZS Aotearoa, which arrived and offloaded humanitarian stores today. Navy divers will also be checking on the integrity of the wharf infrastructure.

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