Tonga runway cleared for volcano aid flights

Tonga runway cleared for volcano aid flights

19/1/2022 1:25:00 PM

Tonga runway cleared for volcano aid flights

WELLINGTON: Tonga removed a thick coat of ash from an international runway on Wednesday (Jan 19) after days of painstaking effort, clearing the way for desperately needed emergency aid to arrive in the isolated and disaster-stricken nation. UN crisis coordinator Jonathan Veitch told AFP the runway on the P

It is"cleared but not in use yet" he said, adding that Tonga could receive much-stalled flights from Australia and New Zealand from Thursday.on Saturday, triggering tsunami waves that ripped down homes and caused widespread flooding.When the underwater caldera exploded, it fired debris 30km into the air and deposited ash and acid rain across the kingdom of 170 islands - poisoning water supplies.

CLEARING FOR TAKEOFFAsh particles pose a threat to modern jet aircraft, including by melting and accumulating in the engines.Both countries have also sent help by sea, with Royal New Zealand Navy ships HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa expected to arrive in Tongan waters on Friday.

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Undersea cable fault could cut off Tonga from rest of the world for weeksThe South Pacific archipelago of Tonga could spend days, or even weeks, cut off from the rest of world because of difficulties in repairing its sole undersea communications cable, which an operator said was ruptured during a massive volcanic eruption. Saturday's explosion of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean so that connectivity was lost on the line, operated by Tonga Cable Ltd, in waters about 37 kilometres (23 miles) offshore. But the repair of Tonga's critical 827-km (514-mile) fibre-optic link to Fiji depends on the arrival of a specialised ship now days away in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.

Tonga likely to spend a month without internet cableSYDNEY : The undersea telecommunications cable connecting Tonga to the rest of the world that was damaged by a volcano eruption will take at least a month to fix, its owner said on Wednesday, with the delay likely hampering disaster recovery efforts.The explosion https://www.reuters.com/world/covid-19-con

Images reveal devastation in tsunami-hit Tonga

Tsunami-hit Tonga islands suffered extensive damage, more deaths fearedSYDNEY/WELLINGTON — Tonga's small outer islands suffered extensive damage from a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami, with an entire village destroyed and many buildings missing, a Tongan diplomat said on Tuesday (Jan 18), raising fears of more deaths and injuries.

Singapore Red Cross pledges S$50,000 towards relief efforts in TongaSINGAPORE: The Singapore Red Cross has pledged S$50,000 in humanitarian aid towards the emergency response in Tonga, after the country was hit by a massive volcanic God bless! That doesnt pay for one day of shipping. Will the governement send some of its shiny nany ships to deliver some help? For once, they could be useful!

Singapore Red Cross pledges $50,000 to aid tsunami-hit Tonga and will launch fund-raising appeal

LinkedIn WELLINGTON: Tonga removed a thick coat of ash from an international runway on Wednesday (Jan 19) after days of painstaking effort, clearing the way for desperately needed emergency aid to arrive in the isolated and disaster-stricken nation. UN crisis coordinator Jonathan Veitch told AFP the runway on the Pacific Kingdom's main island, once buried in five to 10 centimetres of volcanic ash, was again operational. It is"cleared but not in use yet" he said, adding that Tonga could receive much-stalled flights from Australia and New Zealand from Thursday. Three people were killed when the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano exploded on Saturday, triggering tsunami waves that ripped down homes and caused widespread flooding. The overwhelmed Tongan government has called the dual eruption-tsunami"an unprecedented disaster" and reported that waves as high as 15m destroyed almost every home on some outlying islands. Virtually the entire population of 100,000 people has been affected, and initial assessments indicate an urgent need for drinking water. When the underwater caldera exploded, it fired debris 30km into the air and deposited ash and acid rain across the kingdom of 170 islands - poisoning water supplies. "Water supplies across Tonga have been severely impacted by ashfall and saltwater from the tsunami," said Katie Greenwood of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She said there was a"mounting risk of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea". CLEARING FOR TAKEOFF For days, Australia and New Zealand have had military transport C-130 aircraft laden with supplies ready to go, but their departure had been repeatedly delayed. Local authorities were only able to clear about 100 to 200 metres of the runway per day. Ash particles pose a threat to modern jet aircraft, including by melting and accumulating in the engines. Related: Tonga likely to spend a month without internet cable Both countries have also sent help by sea, with Royal New Zealand Navy ships HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa expected to arrive in Tongan waters on Friday. They are carrying bulk water supplies and a 70,000-litre a day onboard desalination plant, as well as navy hydrographic and dive personnel to survey shipping channels. Australia's helicopter landing vessel HMAS Adelaide is expected to soon set sail on a voyage of some five days. China also said it would send emergency supplies such as drinking water, food and disaster relief equipment. There are fears for the island's food supplies, with a tearful speaker of the national assembly Fatafehi Fakafanua saying"all agriculture is ruined". "It's very sad to hear, so on top of the water that we need in Tonga, it seems that we'll be facing a food shortage," he told the Pacific Media Network. INCOMMUNICADO The eruption was one of the most potent in decades, releasing a pressure wave that traversed the planet, travelling at supersonic speeds of about 1,230 kmh, New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said. It broke a vital undersea communications cable that links Tonga with the rest of the world. Since Saturday there has been little news from the islands, except for a handful of messages delivered through satellite phones. Related: All homes on one of Tonga's islands destroyed, 3 dead Tongans overseas hoping to get hold of families back home still agonisingly await contact. "US cable company SubCom advises it will take at least four weeks for Tonga's cable connection to be repaired," New Zealand's foreign ministry said Wednesday. The company said the cable appears to be severed in two places - one is 3km offshore and the other is a domestic cable close to the volcano, making repairs difficult. A repair ship is en route from neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Mobile phone network provider Digicel is using a satellite dish on the main island to restore domestic 2G calls. The Red Cross reached its team in Tonga via satellite phone on Wednesday for the first time since the tsunami. The organisation sent an emergency team to the hard-hit islands of Mango, Fonoifua and Namuka. A village on Mango island, where a distress beacon was detected earlier in the week, was destroyed, and only a few houses remained standing in several other villages across the archipelago, Tonga's government said. Neighbouring countries have relied on surveillance flights and satellite images to assess the scale of the disaster. The latest satellite images released by the UN showed vast areas covered in ash and evidence of inundated roads, toppled walls and smashed buildings across the archipelago. On Tuesday, satellite images released by Maxar Technologies showed that there is now open water where most of the volcanic structure stood above sea level a few days ago. Only two relatively small volcanic islands were still visible above sea level after the eruption. EVACUATION 'HAS BEGUN' A 65-year-old woman in Mango was one of three people confirmed dead, along with a 49-year-old man and British national Angela Glover. Multiple injuries were also reported, the government said. Tongan navy vessels carrying health workers and laden with supplies of water, food and tents were being deployed. "The evacuation process has begun," the government's statement said. Source: AFP/ga