31 January 2022 | Media Release

New Zealand Red Cross has packed the first relief supplies to be sent to Tonga tomorrow and is gathering four technical experts to support the ongoing response.  

After a thorough needs assessment, Tonga Red Cross Society has requested supplies — including blankets, tarpaulins, masks, solar lanterns and kitchen sets — and personnel to bolster the response effort.

The support package includes four Red Cross international delegates — specialists highly trained in post-disaster logistics, operations, water and sanitation, and in financial management. At this stage, each delegate will work remotely from New Zealand for three months.  

“COVID-19 adds another layer of complexity to the response effort,” says Vivienne Euini, Acting General Manager International.  “Tonga remains COVID-19 free and their Government has requested all support be contactless. So our delegates will, at least for now, work remotely from New Zealand.”

New Zealand Red Cross will also be contributing to a global Red Cross fund that will provide financial assistance to those who have been displaced from their homes, or have an urgent need for food, water and other supplies.

In addition, New Zealand Red Cross plans to fund and supply a satellite communications platform which will provide ‘communications in a box’ to support phone and internet connections, which have been severely affected across the Tongan islands.

“While the focus is initially on the immediate welfare needs of people following a disaster, the scale of impacts across Tonga means it will be a significant response and recovery effort. Rebuilding homes, infrastructure and the economy is a complex undertaking and requires a long-term, highly-coordinated international effort,” says Ms Euini.

More than 6,000 people and community groups have donated to the New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal and funds raised will enable the initial $730,000 in support to be provided to Tonga.

“Our assistance of supplies and personnel has been made possible by the phenomenal response we have had to our appeal. People have been incredibly generous and that includes the many businesses that have worked hard to support our efforts, particularly Vodafone and our Disaster Response Alliance partners The Warehouse, Countdown and NZ Post.”

The first transport of New Zealand Red Cross supplies will be airlifted to Tonga on the next NZDF relief flight due to leave Whenuapai on the morning of Tuesday 1 February 2022.

ENDS

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For more information contact:

media.comms@redcross.org.nz 

Ph 04 495 0139

Find out more about the International Delegate Programme

People can donate money to support those affected by the Tongan volcano eruption and tsunami by going to www.redcross.org.nz/donate/pacific-tsunami-appeal

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About New Zealand Red Cross

The New Zealand Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilising the power of humanity and enhancing community resilience.

The Red Cross Fundamental Principles guide everything that we do, whether we're helping people in communities across Aotearoa New Zealand or providing urgent relief in response to an international disaster. These seven principles unite the worldwide Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to help without discrimination those who suffer and by doing so contribute to peace in the world.