Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

New Zealand water ship unloads in Tonga as other aid trickles in

World Jan 21, 2022 08:36AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
5/5 © Reuters. Members of the Australian Defence Force embark on HMAS Adelaide at the Port of Brisbane before departure to Tonga, in Brisbane, Australia, January 20, 2022. Australian Department Of Defence/Handout via REUTERS 2/5

By Praveen Menon, Kirsty Needham and Tom Westbrook

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Life-saving water supplies from a New Zealand navy ship were distributed across Tonga's main island on Friday, as other countries battled the logistics of delivering aid to one of the world's remotest communities.

Six days after the South Pacific archipelago was devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami that deposited a blanket of ash and polluted its water sources, the HMNZS Aotearoa docked in the capital, Nuku’alofa.

The ship carried 250,000 litres of water and desalination equipment able to produce 70,000 litres more per day, New Zealand's High Commission said.

"Trucks ... have begun collecting and delivering water supplies from Aotearoa," the Commission said on its Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page.

The first flights from Australia and New Zealand landed on Thursday with some water as well as shelter, communication equipment and generators.

On Thursday, an Australian flight was forced to return to base because of a positive COVID-19 case onboard, while on Friday technical problems delayed one of two Japanese C-130 transporters carrying 5,000 litres of drinking water, Japan's Self-Defence Forces said.

Underlining the complexity of mounting a contactless international aid operation to one of the few countries free of COVID-19, the Australian plane was turned around mid-flight after PCR tests showed a positive result, an Australian defence spokeswoman told Reuters.

All crew had earlier returned negative rapid antigen tests, she said. The supplies were moved to another flight that took off on Friday.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano eruption last Saturday triggered a tsunami that destroyed villages and resorts and knocked out communications for the nation of about 105,000 people. Three people have been reported killed, authorities said.

The salt water from the tsunami spoiled most sources of water and Tongans have been struggling to find clean water as they clear away the ash.

"We are cleaning the ash and have been since Monday," said Branko Sugar, 61, who runs a bottle shop and fishing charter business from Nuku'alofa.

"Everything is so dusty, and we are running out of water," he said over a patchy telephone line. "We only have the tap water, and it's been contaminated. We... can hardly breathe for all the dust."

URGENT ASSISTANCE NEEDED

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has said the force of the eruption was estimated to be equivalent to 5-10 megatons of TNT, or more than 500 times that of the nuclear bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War Two.

Astronaut Kayla Barron said she could see the volcanic ash in the atmosphere from the International Space Station.

"I opened the window shutter to see if we could see any effects of the eruption, and saw this dramatic, high-altitude plume blocking out the sun," Barron said on Facebook.

NASA released photographs showing a huge grey smudge over the blue Pacific.

United Nations spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told a briefing Tonga had asked for urgent assistance.

"We remain seriously concerned about access to safe water for 50,000 people ... Water quality testing continues, and most people are relying on bottled water," he said, speaking before the Aotearoa arrived.

Dujarric said there were reports of fuel shortages, while some 60,000 Tongans have been affected by damage to crops, livestock and fisheries due to ashfall, saltwater intrusion and the potential for acid rain.

Many have turned to social media to post images of the destruction by the tsunami and give accounts of their shock after the massive explosion, while tales of incredible escapes from the disaster have also emerged.

Sea-borne assistance was also en route for the archipelago.

Australia's HMAS Adelaide was due in Tonga next week after leaving Brisbane.

Reliance, a repair ship due to reconnect the undersea cable that links Tonga to international telecoms networks, left its Port Moresby mooring and was expected in Tonga on Jan. 30, according to Refinitiv data on shipping movements.

The Reliance's operator, SubCom, did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for confirmation.

Telephone links between Tonga and the outside world were reconnected late on Wednesday, although restoring full internet services https://tmsnrt.rs/3qzVPyy is expected to take a month or more.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk asked in a post on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) if Tongans would like help from his Starlink project, which provides internet connection through satellites.

New Zealand water ship unloads in Tonga as other aid trickles in
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email