Australia will provide a $16 million package to support Tonga’s long-term reconstruction and recovery from January’s volcanic eruption and tsunami, alongside a delivery of 54,990 Pfizer vaccines to be provided in partnership with Tongan health authorities to support their COVID-19 response.
The $16 million package builds on the initial $3 million of humanitarian support and the Australian Defence Force’s clean-up efforts and delivery of 370 tonnes of equipment and disaster relief supplies under Operation Tonga Assist 2022.
The new package targets areas of ongoing need in Tonga and is aligned with our Tongan Government partners’ Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Volcanic Eruption and Tsunami Disaster Recovery and Resilience Building Plan 2022-25.
Australia’s further commitment will support Tonga’s sustainable economic recovery by supporting the rebuilding of critical infrastructure including telecommunications, livelihoods, and key government services. The package will also support Tonga’s health system to respond to the challenges of COVID-19.
“We continue to coordinate our assistance closely with New Zealand, Japan, United Kingdom, the United States, India, France and Fiji. Our collective approach has strengthened cooperation on humanitarian and disaster response in the region,” said Foreign Minister, Marise Payne.
“The Government of Tonga has demonstrated strong leadership following this natural disaster and COVID-19 outbreak. Through our partnership with UNICEF, Australia also delivered 54,990 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to Tonga on 22 March.
“This continues our ongoing efforts with our Pacific Family under the Pacific Step-up.
“We are coordinating our efforts with Tonga’s reconstruction priorities and their work managing the recent COVID-19 outbreak,” she said.