UK sends aid to Tonga following volcano and tsunami

Water and medical supplies are being delivered by Royal Navy ship 'HMS Spey'

Australian Defence Forces members unload humanitarian assistance and engineering equipment from an aircraft at Fua'amotu International Airport, Tonga. Australian Department of Defence / Handout via Reuters

UK-funded aid is heading to Tonga to help the relief effort following the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The supplies, sent on board HMAS Adelaide, of the Australian navy, include about 100 tents.

Meanwhile, the Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, HMS Spey, will sail from Tahiti to Tonga carrying water and medical supplies.

“Our thoughts are with those caught up in the appalling devastation and loss of life caused by the tsunami in Tonga,” said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

UN humanitarian officials estimate that about 84,000 people — more than 80 per cent of Tonga’s population — have been affected by the eruption of an undersea volcano, which has led to deaths, injuries, loss of homes and polluted water.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday, triggering a tsunami that caused devastation across the archipelago nation.

HMAS Adelaide will set sail on Friday carrying British aid including 90 family tents, eight community tents and six wheel barrows, with all items provided at the request of the Tongan government.

HMS Spey is due to arrive in Tonga next week and the vessel’s commanding officer, Commander Mike Proudman, said: “I’m proud that the Royal Navy can play its part in the efforts to respond to the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.”

The UK has also offered to fund the deployment of crisis experts to the country through the UN.

Updated: January 21, 2022, 12:01 AM