Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Third humanitarian flight to Tonga

A third aid flight from New Zealand carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies has landed in Tonga.

The aircraft left RNZAF Base Auckland yesterday with food, water purifiers, medical supplies, chainsaw sets, and communications equipment including satellite phones, handheld marine radios and VHF radios.

Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury also arrived in Tonga yesterday and, in a contactless delivery, has offloaded stores including milk powder, tarpaulins and water pumps. Personnel on board the ship remain ready to assist with relief efforts as directed by Tongan authorities, NZDF said in a statement.

“HMNZS Canterbury’s arrival in Tonga means Navy ship HMNZS Aotearoa can depart tonight, after about a week in Tonga, so the ship can continue with a planned mission to Antarctica next month,” Defence said.

“HMNZS Aotearoa took bulk water supplies to Tonga and has been producing safe drinking water, providing more than 415,000 litres of fresh drinking water for Tongan communities.”

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HMNZS Aotearoa has also been providing fuel to Tongan Navy vessels involved in distributing aid and fresh water, as well as refuelling ships from nations such as Australia, the US, France and UK assisting with relief efforts. Yesterday, HMNZS Aotearoa refuelled the Royal Navy’s HMS Spey. 

“HMNZS Wellington has divers and hydrographers on board who have been inspecting and surveying damage to infrastructure, ports of entry and harbours, ensuring ships, including those of partner nations, can safely enter to deliver aid to Tonga.”

“HMNZS Wellington is transiting to Niuatopatapu to conduct harbour surveys and relocate a navigational mark that moved in the natural disaster,” Defence said in a Tonga response update.

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