UK aid has arrived in Tonga following the volcanic eruption and tsunami which has affected much of the nation.
The Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, HMS Spey, which docked on Wednesday, sailed from Tahiti to the country carrying vital supplies.
This included 30,000 litres of bottled water, supplies for more than 300 first aid kits, personal protective equipment, basic sanitation and baby products.
Minster for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said: “Responding to humanitarian crises across the globe is a core part our of Armed Forces’ daily business.
“The crew and company of HMS Spey have demonstrated that this week by delivering this vital aid.
“The UK is a long-standing partner of the Pacific islands and having the ship deployed in the Indo-Pacific meant that we could be there for Tonga in their hour of need, as the island begins to rebuild their homes and communities.”
UN humanitarian officials estimate that about 84,000 people — more than 80% of Tonga’s population — have been affected by the eruption of an undersea volcano, which has led to deaths, injuries, loss of homes and polluted water.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted in January, causing a tsunami which led to devastation across the nation.
The ship arrived into Nuku’alofa, the capital city of Tonga on the island of Tongatapu and dropped off the supplies which will be moved to islands near to the volcano.
Tonga’s Covid regulations meant the crew could not disembark, so the supplies were moved and delivered by crane.
The commanding officer of HMS Spey, Commander Michael Proudman, said: “I am immensely proud of my ship’s company.
“Their flexibility, hard work and speed of reaction in assisting our Commonwealth friends in Tonga demonstrate the epitome of a modern, global Royal Navy, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”