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ADF supports Tongan recovery efforts

A RAAF P-8 Poseidon aircraft departs RAAF Base Amberley to undertake surveillance efforts in Tonga. Credit: Department of Defence

Two RAAF P-8A Poseidons and a C-130J Hercules took off from RAAF Bases Amberley and Richmond earlier this week to undertake aerial surveillance tasks following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcano.

Two RAAF P-8A Poseidons and a C-130J Hercules took off from RAAF Bases Amberley and Richmond earlier this week to undertake aerial surveillance tasks following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcano.

The Australian Defence Force has confirmed that it is co-operating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to support the government of Tonga following the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai eruption in mid-January.

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As part of the operation, two RAAF P-8A Poseidons and a C-130J Hercules took off from RAAF Bases Amberley and Richmond to conduct surveillance operations to help the Tongan government assess the damage of the eruption in remote areas.

It is expected that the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information collected from the flights will support the Tongan government’s disaster activities.

The ADF has also confirmed that HMAS Adelaide has been deployed from Sydney’s Fleet Base East to support any humanitarian requests from the Tongan government, setting into pre-position in Brisbane.

“Australia will work in partnership with other Pacific neighbours, including New Zealand, to support Tonga in a COVID-safe way,” a joint release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, Minister for Defence Peter Dutton, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said.

“While communications remain limited we are continuing to receive regular updates through our high commission in Tonga, with early reports of substantial ash coverage around Nuku’alofa and coastal inundation and damage to infrastructure.”

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Earlier this week, the Commonwealth government approved an initial $1 million aid package for Tonga.

[Related: ADF delivers specialist training in Vanuatu]

ADF supports Tongan recovery efforts
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