The Australian Government is providing emergency humanitarian assistance to help the people of Tonga, following Tropical Cyclone Gita, the Australian Department of Defence announced.
The destructive storm that struck overnight as a Category 4 cyclone had caused severe damage to the capital city of Nuku’alofa. Following a request from the Tongan Government, Australia has deployed $350,000 in life-saving equipment including emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits to assist over 2,000 people in need.
Australia has released humanitarian supplies, including tarpaulins and water purification tablets, through the Tongan Red Cross. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, as part of the broader whole of government effort to support the Government of Tonga.
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster will deliver much needed emergency relief supplies to Tonga this evening. The ADF is also ready to assist with debris removal, water, sanitation and distribution of emergency supplies on request from the Government of Tonga.
To further assist in the response, two civilian humanitarian specialists have been deployed at this stage, in addition to an Australian-funded humanitarian specialist already working with Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office.
An Australian medical expert is working with New Zealand specialists and Tongan authorities to assess health services in affected areas.
Australian officials are travelling to Tonga to help provide assistance to Australians affected by the disaster. All Australians in Tonga are advised to remain indoors and follow the instructions of local authorities. At the time of issue, DFAT had not received any requests for consular assistance.