UK aid heads to Tonga as Pacific nation continues the clean-up after eruption and tsunami


UK-funded aid is being sent to Tonga, almost a week after parts of the island nation were devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The Australian naval ship HMAS Adelaide was expected to set sail on Friday carrying British aid, including 90 family-sized tents, eight community tents, and six wheelbarrows requested by the Tongan government.

At the same time, the Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel HMS Spey will sail from Tahiti to Tonga carrying water and medical supplies.

HMS Spey is expected to arrive this week and the ship’s commanding officer Commander Mike Proudman said: “I’m proud that the Royal Navy can play its part in the efforts to respond to the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.”

The UK has also offered to fund the deployment of crisis experts through the United Nations.

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.”

The Queen also sent a message of condolence to His Majesty Tupou VI, the King of Tonga, last Thursday.

“I am shocked and saddened by the impact of the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga,” she said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tonga, as you work together to recover from the damage caused.

“It must be incredibly difficult for those who are unable to contact friends and family while communications are disrupted, and I hope that they will soon be restored,” said the Queen.