GOVERNMENT OF TONGA

MEDIA RELEASE

(11 March, 2016)

“Government of Tonga Disaster Relief Operation in Fiji.”

Task Group 412 compromise the disaster relief effort from Tonga to Fiji. The Tongan Task Group (TG412) is based on two Tongan Navy vessels: VOEA Pangai a Pacific Class Patrol Boat and VOEA Late a medium landing craft. The TG412 consist of 45 military personnel and 4 civilian from National Emergency Management Center (NEMO) and Tonga Red Cross. It is led by Commander Heiss Fonohema and Mr Mafua Maka from the Tonga National Emergency Management Center. They are supporting the Fiji National Disaster Management Office based in Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau Groups.

Reports from the TG412 that they have been tasks to support Vanua Balavu and the surrounding islands of Northern Lau. The VOEA Pangai arrived on the 27th of February and start offloading the relief supplies from Tonga donated by NEMO and Tonga Red Cross.

VOEA Late arrived in Vanua Balavu on the 5th February and start offloading the relief supplies provided by Tonga Red Cross. As of today the Tongan, Fiji and NZ military personnel conduct cleaning up of debris and maintenance of government building, churches, schools and shelters. Tongan Red Cross and NEMO work in support of Fiji Red Cross and NDMO while VOEA Late conduct water deliveries to other smaller islands in the Northern Lau Group. Cmdr Fonohema commented that water is still in critical demand and better shelters for a majority of the population is still needed. Both Tongan vessels is primary to deliver water and relief supplies to other islands as required by Fiji NDMO. Tongan Navy deployment is supported by the Australian Defence Force in fuelling and other supplies.

The relief effort to Fiji will end on the 19th March and TG412 will return to Tonga on the same date.

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-Ends-

Issued by His Majesty’s Armed Forces

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