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Tonga eruption: NZ government brings aid funding up to $3m

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 21/01/2022
Defence Minister Peeni Henare in New Plymouth giving an update on the NZDF's Tonga relief efforts. © Provided by Radio New Zealand Defence Minister Peeni Henare in New Plymouth giving an update on the NZDF's Tonga relief efforts.

The government has announced a further $2 million in aid to help Tonga recover after the huge eruption nearly a week ago.

It brings New Zealand's humanitarian support funding in the wake of Saturday's Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption to $3m.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said the funding would allow supplies like drinking water, food, engineering equipment and tools to clear debris to be sent to the island kingdom.

Supplies must be delivered contactlessly to protect the Covid-free country from infection.

Henare said HMNZS Canterbury, which carried two NH90 helicopters, would also leave Devonport for Tonga overnight - the third NZ Defence Force ship to make the journey - and would also carry tarpaulins, water containers, milk powder, and engineering equipment.

It follows HMNZS Wellington - which has helped carry out surveying work - and HMNZS Aotearoa which arrived and offloaded humanitarian stores today.

Mahuta said $1.5m of the latest funding would help support work by local authorities and humanitarian organisations, supply water generation and clean-up equipment, and go towards supplies for relief flights on NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules.

The first such flight landed in Tonga yesterday afternoon.

The remaining $500,000 would support New Zealand non-government organisations to work with local partners through a New Zealand Disaster Response Partnership round.

Mahuta said she had discussed the relief efforts with her Tongan counterpart Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu today.

No caption © Provided by Radio New Zealand No caption

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

"We discussed the significant challenges Tonga has in looking after its people as it cleans up after this disaster. I have assured her that we stand by to offer more assistance when needed."

NZDF divers are also expected to check wharf infrastructure today, the ministers' statement said.

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