The Australian Government is providing emergency humanitarian assistance to help the people of Tonga, following Tropical Cyclone Gita, a Category 4 cyclone that caused severe damage to the capital Nuku’alofa.
CAPTION: RAAF Amberley air-load team members load pallets of Australian Aid onto a RAAF C-17A Globemaster for delivery to Tonga. Photo by Sergeant Peter Borys.
Following a request from the Tongan Government, Australia has deployed $350,000 in humanitarian aid, including emergency shelters, and kitchen and hygiene kits to assist more 2000 people in need.
Australia also released humanitarian supplies, including tarpaulins and water purification tablets, through the Tongan Red Cross.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the Australian Defence Force would conduct humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief operations as part of the broader whole of government effort to support the Government of Tonga.
“A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster [delivered] much needed emergency-relief supplies to Tonga [last] evening,” she said.
“The ADF is also ready to assist with debris removal, water, sanitation and distribution of emergency supplies on request from the Government of Tonga.
“To further assist in the response, two civilian humanitarian specialists have been deployed at this stage, in addition to an Australian-funded humanitarian specialist already working with Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office.
“An Australian medical expert is working with New Zealand specialists and Tongan authorities to assess health services in affected areas.”
Minister Payne said Australian officials were travelling to Tonga to help provide assistance to Australians affected by the disaster.
“All Australians in Tonga are advised to remain indoors and follow the instructions of local authorities.”
She said that at the time of her press release [late yesterday], DFAT had not received any requests for consular assistance.