Australian Red Cross is today sending emergency relief supplies to Tonga in the wake of the massive weekend Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano and subsequent tsunami.
While communications with Tonga remain limited, Australian Red Cross is expecting access to clean water to be a priority as water sources may have been contaminated with volcanic ash and sea water.
Australia Red Cross is also anticipating damage to houses and shelter along the coastline of the west coast of Tongatupu, and that volcanic ash will cause health risks for some time.
As part of a co-ordinated initial response to the disaster, Australian Red Cross is providing the following additional supplies:
“Right now, our focus is to send supplies that we believe will bolster the Tonga Red Cross disaster response. This includes equipment to help ensure citizens have access to safe drinking water, materials to repair shelters, and mosquito nets to protect communities from the spread of dengue in Tonga,” Adrian Prouse, Head of International Humanitarian Programs said.
“We know that Tonga Red Cross was well prepared for disasters like the tsunami and had prepositioned supplies for 1200 households that they have started distributing. As well, Australian Red Cross ran a full disaster simulation with them in September,” Mr Prouse said.
Tonga Red Cross teams responded immediately to the tsunami warning on Saturday and assisted in the evacuation of coastal areas.
“It is important to note that Tonga has remained relatively free from COVID-19 so all humanitarian aid must be delivered in a COVID-safe way to ensure we avoid any outbreak,” Mr Prouse said.
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