The UK has joined the tsunami relief effort in Tonga, deploying a Royal Navy vessel to the embattled Pacific island nation.
Royal Navy ship HMS Spey has set sail to Tonga to support Australian and New Zealand counterparts providing humanitarian assistance to victims of last week’s tsunami.
UK-funded supplies are also set to be loaded aboard Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Adelaide, which commenced its voyage on Friday (21 January).
HMAS Adelaide is set to deliver approximately 17 pallets of supplies, with all items provided at the request of the Tongan government.
Supplies include 90 family tents, eight community tents and six wheel barrows.
“Our thoughts are with those caught up in the appalling devastation and loss of life caused by the tsunami in Tonga,” the UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.
“UK supplies and technical expertise will provide urgent assistance to Tonga, working alongside Australia to support a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”
The British government has also offered to fund the deployment of crisis experts through the United Nations, tasked with supporting the co-ordination of the international response.
Additionally, the UK-funded International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has made £345,000 available to fund humanitarian assistance to Tonga.
Commander Mike Proudman, commanding officer of HMS Spey reflected on the country’s long-standing commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
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“The UK has a long and proud history of supporting disaster relief alongside our allies and partners around the world,” he 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.”
HMAS Spey and HMAS Adelaide join a host of other defence platforms providing aid to Tonga, including two Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidons and a C-130J Hercules took off from RAAF Bases Amberley and Richmond to undertake aerial surveillance tasks.
It is expected that the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information collected from the flights will support the Tongan government’s disaster activities.
[Related: ADF supports Tongan recovery efforts]