New Zealand And Australia Prepare To Ship Aid To Tonga

UN offer distanced-relief assistance

Article heading image for New Zealand And Australia Prepare To Ship Aid To Tonga

Both New Zealand and Australia are preparing to provide relief via aid ships to Tonga following volcanic eruption.

Naval ships and airplanes have been loaded with aid for Tonga which was recently rocked by an underwater volcanic eruption on Saturday which resulted in a 15-metre-high tsunami.

The UN are currently in preparations to provide distanced relief to the island to avoid spreading the virus and causing an outbreak.

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So far, Tonga is completely free of Covid with 90 percent of their eligible population fully vaccinated against the virus.

Every home across one of Tonga’s smallest islands were completely destroyed with three people now confirmed dead.

United Nations co-ordinator, Jonathan Veitch announced in a media appearance that relief would be provided remotely to avoid spreading the virus throughout the island nation.

“We believe that we will be able to send flights with supplies," he said.

"We're not sure that we can send flights with personnel and the reason for this is that Tonga has a very strict COVID-free policy."

Mr Vietch added that sending distanced relief could be the only way to keep Covid from reaching the nation’s shores.

"They've been very cautious about opening their borders, like many Pacific islands, and that's because of the history of disease outbreaks in the Pacific which has wiped out societies here." 

There are currently 23 UN representatives in Tonga to assist with relief efforts along with a number of Non-Government Organisation representatives.

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Georgie Marr

19 January 2022

Article by:

Georgie Marr

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