Joint media release with:
- The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence
- Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
16 January 2022
The Government of Tonga has agreed to the Morrison Government’s offer of a surveillance flight, to assess the damage caused by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano yesterday and the subsequent tsunami.
An ADF P-8 is scheduled to depart Australia for Tonga tomorrow morning, pending ash and weather conditions, to assess damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, ports and powerlines, which will determine the next phase of the response effort.
Australia is ready to immediately respond to requests for assistance with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Defence coordinating critical humanitarian supplies for disaster relief.
Australia will work in partnership with other Pacific neighbours, including New Zealand, to support Tonga in a COVID-safe way.
While communications remain limited we are continuing to receive regular updates through our High Commission in Tonga, with early reports of substantial ash coverage around Nuku’alofa and coastal inundation and damage to infrastructure.
DFAT is seeking to confirm the welfare of Australians, permanent residents and their families. Communications outages are currently making it difficult to contact people.
Those concerned about Australian citizens in Tonga should contact DFAT on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305.
Tonga is part of our Pacific family and both the thoughts and the prayers of Australians are with the entire nation, which has been impacted by this natural disaster.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555