Tonga: Volcanoes

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 24th January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Glenarthur Lord Glenarthur Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide aid to the Kingdom of Tonga, following the volcanic eruption on 15 January; what is the timetable for delivering any such aid; and whether they have made any assessment of what aid is most needed.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is deeply concerned by the appalling devastation caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga. While full details of the humanitarian impact are still unknown, it is estimated that up to 80,000 people will have been affected. HMG has been working with partners on options for support, helping to ensure a coordinated regional response.

On Friday 21 January, the UK sent supplies to support the humanitarian and disaster relief effort on Australia's HMAS Adelaide. 17 pallets are on board, including 90 family tents, 8 community tents and 6 wheel barrows. All of these items were requested by the Tongan government.

In addition, HMS Spey has now set sail for Tonga, loaded with additional items including fresh water and medical supplies.

The UK is also funding the deployment of crisis experts through the United Nations. They will support the Tongan authorities to coordinate the international response.

The UK-funded International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has also released £345,000 to support Tonga. The UK has committed a £6 million contribution to the DREF through an annual £1.5 million donation 2020-2023.

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