Assistance to Tonga following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruptions and tsunami

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Assistance to Tonga following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruptions and tsunami

The United States continues to increase assistance to the Kingdom of Tonga following the recent Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruptions, ashfall and tsunami.

As announced yesterday, the United States will provide, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an additional $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by this disaster. The new funding will complement the $100,000 in immediate aid announced by US Chargé d’Affaires to Suva Tony Greubel shortly after the first eruptions.

The US Department of Defense is assisting the relief effort with the deployment of USS Sampson (DDG 102) to Tonga waters. USS Sampson provides lifesaving action in support of disaster relief efforts in Tonga and operates in support of the Australian Defense Force. The USS Sampson has experience providing humanitarian aid to the region, as the ship provided critical relief following the New Zealand earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016. US Coast Guard Cutter Stratton ( WMSL-752) is also in the process of joining support efforts.

USAID is working to meet emergency needs and is providing clean water, hygiene kits, and other aid for food security, shelter, agriculture, and the livestock needs of the most affected communities. USAID’s longstanding disaster preparedness programs in Tonga are also responding, including through the distribution of pre-positioned supplies. Additionally, a USAID partner is providing support for emergency warning and communications systems and helped restore basic cellphone service after the eruption severed an undersea communications cable, leaving most of Tonga with very limited communications and internet access.

The USAID-USGS Volcanic Disaster Assistance Program is preparing to ship volcano monitoring equipment for use when international experts are able to provide on-site technical assistance to Tonga Geological Surveys within weeks. future. Equipment includes a seismic station to detect volcano-related earthquakes, an infrasound array to detect explosions, and installation and data transfer support equipment to monitor the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai . volcano.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) is remotely monitoring the situation at the volcano, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is implementing volcanic tsunami emergency warning protocols and coordinating the collection of data on the impact of the tsunami in Tonga to inform future tsunami response. NOAA also coordinates with TMS and other partners to collect tsunami and flood data. Tsunami data collection equipment, such as laser range finders, will be sent for distribution to the Government of Tonga to support future tsunami warning forecast models around the world.

U.S. assistance to Tonga is consistent with existing World Health Organization provisions and United States Centers for Disease Control and Preventionve, as well as Government of Tonga COVID-19 protocols.

We thank our allies and partners, including Australia, Fiji, France, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, for their leadership in providing immediate aid and support. We continue to coordinate closely with them, as well as with international organizations, assistance to Tonga.

The United States stands ready to support our Pacific neighbors and contribute to a resilient Indo-Pacific region. Recognizing the bonds of shared history and sacrifice, our presence and alliances in the region allow us to come together quickly to provide assistance when needed.

Assistance to Tonga following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruptions and tsunami

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