Wednesday, February 28, 2024

NZ ready to assist Tonga

The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said today.

“Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” the Minister said.

She said New Zealand had made an initial $500,000 available to respond to requests from the Government of Tonga.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, NZDF and other New Zealand agencies are working through air and sea options to provide assistance to Tonga, the Minister also confirmed.

A New Zealand Defence Force P3 Orion is on standby to provide aerial surveillance and support the Government of Tonga gain visibility of the impact on the outer islands, as soon as atmospheric conditions allow.

“As yet there are no official reports of injuries or deaths. However, communications are limited,” Ms Mahuta said.

“The New Zealand High Commission in Nuku‘alofa is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with local authorities.

“Anyone in the affected area should follow the advice of the local authorities, including any tsunami evacuation orders, and try to contact their family back in New Zealand,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Communications links with Tonga have been disrupted so New Zealanders may have difficulties contacting their whānau in Tonga at this time. Authorities are working as quickly as possible to re-establish communication links.”

New Zealanders in Tonga should stay informed of developments by monitoring local media. There are currently 30 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Tonga, and all New Zealanders there should register their details on www.safetravel.govt.nz

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