Tue. May 24th, 2022

Australia is also sending relief flights as recovery efforts accelerate following the outbreak of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai.

The first flight carrying supplies was en route to Tonga after the runway at the Pacific Island’s main airport was cleared of ash and debris from last weekend’s devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami.

Like many other parts of the country, the runway at Nuku’alofa was covered with ash after the eruption of Southern Ha’apai people, a submarine volcano, which sent giant plumes of ash, volcanic debris and smoke into the air.

The plane, an Air Force Hercules C-130 transport aircraft from New Zealand, took off from Auckland around 12:00 (23:00 GMT) for the four-hour flight, the country’s Foreign Ministry and Defense Department said Thursday. a joint statement said.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said: “The aircraft carries humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water containers, kits for temporary shelters, generators, hygiene and family kits, and communications equipment.

The plane is expected to be on the ground for about 90 minutes before returning to New Zealand, given concerns about the coronavirus. Tonga is one of the few countries in the world that is COVID-19 free and has strict border control.

Australian media reported that an Australian auxiliary flight also took off for Tonga.

The runway was cleaned Late Wednesday.

A group of people in Nuku'alofa kick rubbish in a heap on the street after Saturday's volcanic eruption and tsunamiPeople clear debris from the streets of Nuku’alofa in Tonga on January 18, 2022 after the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai [Courtesy of Marian Kupu/Broadcom Broadcasting FM87.5/via Reuters]

The eruption also cut off Tonga’s communications with the outside world, with damage claims dependent on air surveillance flights by the New Zealand and Australian air forces. The first images on the grounds of the extent of the devastation facing the country only appeared on Wednesday.

Photos shared on social media by the Kingdom of Tonga Consulate show parts of Nuku’alofa, the capital, littered with rubble and covered in thick brown ash.

Other images show people removing as rubbish and rubbish from the streets.

The United Nations and aid agencies have stressed the urgent need to get fresh water to the islands, after the salt water from the tsunami contaminated supplies.

A ship from the New Zealand Navy, which transports 250,000 liters of fresh water and has the capacity to produce 70,000 liters of fresh water per day through its desalination plant, is expected to arrive on Friday, while Australia’s HMAS Adelaide is loaded with supplies and equipment in Brisbane.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai on Saturday caused a tsunami in parts of Tonga, which is spread over about 100 islands, and caused warnings for countries around the Pacific Ocean.

It also broke Tonga’s submarine communications cable, which cut the country off from the rest of the world.

Limited communication in Nuku-alofa has now been established, but the cable is expected to take at least four weeks to be repaired.

It was the most catastrophic volcanic eruption since 1991, when Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines. Three people were confirmed dead.

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