UK cooperates with Australia and New Zealand on Tonga tsunami response

The UK will redeploy a Royal Navy ship and work with Australia and New Zealand to deliver vital aid to Tonga, after a once in a thousand year volcanic eruption caused a catastrophic tsunami to hit the islands.

UK-funded supplies will be onboard the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide, which is due to set sail for Nuku’alofa this morning, while Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has authorised Royal Navy ship HMS Spey to sail to Tonga to support the humanitarian and disaster relief effort.

In total 17 pallets of supplies are being sent on HMAS Adelaide today, all items provided were at the request of the Tongan government, including 90 family tents, 8 community tents and 6 wheel barrows.

The humanitarian aid and assistance will provide support to the Commonwealth nation, which has suffered significant damage and loss of life, to respond to the catastrophic event.

HMS Spey is alongside on a planned stop in Tahiti and will set sail for Tonga later today, having embarked supplies including water and medical equipment.

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

“UK supplies and technical expertise will provide urgent assistance to Tonga, working alongside Australia to support a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In response to the devastating eruption in the Pacific Ocean I have instructed HMS Spey to sail to Tonga to assist in the humanitarian aid operation.

“The UK will work closely with Australia and New Zealand to assist the recovery effort in Tonga and stands ready to support our long-standing Commonwealth partner.”