New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to the Kingdom of Tonga following the recent Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says, “the thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves.”
New Zealand has made an initial $500,000 available to respond to requests from the Government of Tonga as they come in. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Defence Force and other New Zealand agencies are working through air and sea options to provide assistance to Tonga.
An NZDF P3 Orion left this morning to provide aerial surveillance and help the Government of Tonga gain visibility of the impact on the outer islands.
“As yet there are no official reports of injuries or deaths. However, communications are limited. The New Zealand High Commission in Nuku‘alofa is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with local authorities,” 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,” she added.
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
Image Credit: New Zealand Defence Force