New Zealand Sends Ships With Supplies to Volcano Hit-Tonga
On 14th January 2022, the South Pacific Nation, Tonga had a massive volcanic eruption. Soon after the incident, which has been termed as the largest volcanic eruption of the 21st century as of now, humanitarian efforts were started to help the calamity hit-island nation. On Monday, New Zealand had readied a C-130 Hercules aircraft to transport supplies but due to heavy ashfall cloaking the runways of Nuku’alofa, the operation was called off.
New Zealand has now decided to send two ships, HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa with supplies and survey equipment to Tonga. This afternoon, New Zealand’s Defense Minister Peeni Henare and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced that the vessel HMNZS Aotearoa would be transporting 250,000 liters of water whereas HMNZS Wellington would be carrying survey equipment and a helicopter to Tonga. Mr. Henare, informed that the survey equipment onboard HMNZS Wellington would be used to assess the changes to the seabed in shipping channels and port so that future deliveries of support and aid could be assured from the sea. He told a local daily that possibly by Thursday, the runways would be ready for aircraft to land.
Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, informed that authorities were struggling with communication on the ground, so New Zealand sent the aid before any official request came from the Tongan Government. Tonga is assessing the damage and it is expected that the Tongan government will be formally requesting assistance from the international community.
Tonga is a covid-19 free nation and follows strict border control. The Tonga Government has held talks with Australian and New Zealand governments regarding covid-19 restrictions and it is expected that the 21-day quarantine period will be waived off for aid workers.