Australian Aid Ship for Tonga Hit by COVID

Australian HMAS ADELAIDE carrying relief cargo to Tonga has reported 23 cases of coronavirus on board. Tonga is still reeling from the violent volcanic eruption on January 15. The ship is delivering the cargo in a contactless manner to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

Tonga is in crucial need of aid, which is currently scarce despite many countries promising sums for welfare. The airport has been covered with ash, rendering it unusable, leaving the sea as the sole route for aid. More than 600 crew aboard the HMAS ADELAIDE, it also has a fully functioning 40-bed hospital and an intensive care unit. But these workers and the ship itself will return merely after completing deliveries to not expose the Tongan population to covid, which has had only a single covid case in October. The vessel has delivered humanitarian and medical supplies, engineering equipment, and helicopters.

Adelaide also has a desalination unit that can provide drinking water. Australia has supplied more than 40 tons of emergency relief to Tonga since the disaster and will provide an additional $2 million to help the affected country recover. The Australian federal government has also stated that it will restore power and communications across Tonga. Other countries are also making concerted efforts to help the local population, such as New Zealand providing reconnaissance, water desalination facilities, and relief. The international federation of red cross and red crescent societies has said that its volunteers are setting up shelters across the islands and making deliveries of the essentials with the extra supplies.

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