two Japanese Lockheed C-130 Hercules and two Kawasaki C-2 left the Royal
Australian Air Force Base at Amberley in Queensland state to make the
3,300-kilometer (2,050-mile) journey east to the islands that were devastated
by the January 15 twin disasters, the Australian Defence Department said in a
proudly joins Japan and other Pacific Island countries working alongside the
people of Tonga,” the statement said.
flights from Australia, Japan and New Zealand also carried food, water, medical
supplies and telecommunications equipment to Tonga over the weekend.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing was providing an additional
$3.1 million in assistance to Tonga. The Chinese Embassy in Fiji has already
sent drinking water, food, generators, water pumps, and other goods to help in
the relief effort, Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.
of the COVID-19 risk to a nation that has not had a local outbreak, aid flights
are landing, offloading supplies, then leaving without contact with locals on
the ground. The goods are left for 72 hours to reduce the infection risk before
they are unpacked.
main airport runway has been cleared of ash spewed when the nearby Hunga Tonga
Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted. The explosion set off a Pacific-wide tsunami
that smashed boats in New Zealand and caused an oil spill in Peru.
Tonga receives support from
efforts were going smoothly, with the Tongan government and military officials
working together, Australian Minister for International Development and the
Pacific Zed Seselja said on Sunday.
from the US and Britain were on their way. HMAS Adelaide, an Australian navy
ship with helicopters on board as well as engineers and a 40-bed hospital, is
expected to reach Tonga by Friday. The
ship can generate electricity and purify water.
lack of clean water was a priority because local supplies have been damaged by
layers of volcanic ash and salt water. Red Cross teams on the ground reported
widespread stagnant pools of salt water that were dumped by the tsunami,
polluting the clean drinking water sources of tens of thousands of people, said
Katie Greenwood, the Pacific head for the International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies.
Saturday, the Japanese government said a Self-Defense Forces C-130
aircraft arrived in Tonga with three tons of drinking water. That followed
another Japanese flight on Friday.
Three people died due to the
death toll has been limited, with only three deaths confirmed in Tonga so far.
of Tonga’s smaller islands suffered serious damage from tsunami waves. The
majority of Tongans live on the main island of Tongatapu, where about 50 homes
were destroyed and coastlines strewn with debris.
humanitarian officials reported that about 84,000 people — 80% of Tonga’s
population — have been impacted by the eruption.
tsunami severed the single fiber-optic cable that connects Tonga to the rest of
the world, leaving many unable to connect with loved ones abroad. Since then,
satellite communications have improved and Tonga’s telecoms operator, Digicel,
said it had been able to restore international call services to some areas.