Australia’s largest navy vessel, HMAS Adelaide, was docked in Tonga to unload supplies after a tsunami and volcanic eruption in the South Pacific archipelago, even after 23 sailors tested COVID positive. In a statement released from the government of Australia, the crew members decided on a contactless delivery to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus among the Tongan population.
Newsweek reported earlier that Red Cross employees have been cautious, especially about outside aid workers, primarily because Tonga is one of the few places that have been virus-free, with only a single reported case from the start of the ongoing pandemic. Per World Data, 61% of the population in Tonga is completely vaccinated.
Tonga mandates that visitors quarantine for three weeks. Aid workers are required to make no-contact deliveries when sending supplies.
The 15 January sudden volcanic eruption has blanketed Tonga with thick ash when supplying safe drinking water has been a priority. The HMAS Adelaide promptly delivered helicopters, a desalination plant, and heavy engineering equipment.
There is an immediate requirement for people to access safe water sources in weeks to come, informed Sione Taumoefolau, Tonga Red Cross secretary-general.
Ash has now settled in the water tanks and will need time to settle along with thorough treatment before it is used.
#YourADF personnel have completed a COVID-safe delivery of over 250 pallets of essential HADR stores to our Pacific neighbours in Tonga. Our People are adhering to designated quarantine zones. Making sure COVID-19 is not introduced into Tonga is critical during #OpTongaAssist. pic.twitter.com/Lofm0xfnlj
— Royal Australian Navy (@Australian_Navy) January 27, 2022