State of emergency declared in Tonga after Tsunami destruction

New Zealand is sending aid to Tonga, but ash from the Tsunami that hit the country, is preventing relief planes from landing in its main airport.

According to New Zealand authorities it will also take days before military ships with supplies reach the islands and there are fears of a possible humanitarian crisis developing.

At least one person is confirmed to be dead, while the number of those injured is still unknown.

At the same time, the volcanic eruption severed an undersea cable, cutting off the country of Tonga from the outside world.

On Tuesday New Zealand foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta said that “water is among the highest priorities for Tonga at this stage“. Aid agencies say it is likely that volcanic dust and the tsunami had contaminated Tonga’s water supplies.

Nania added that a C-130 Hercules aircraft was on standby to fly to Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa to deliver humanitarian aid including collapsible water containers, generators and hygiene kits.

“However images show ashfall on the Nuku’alofa airport runway that must be cleared before (the plane) can land,” she said.

Currently, a 100m (330ft) stretch of tarmac is swept clean, following sweeping by some 200 Tongans.

New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner to Tonga, Peter Lund, said government had declared a state of emergency and that the extent of the destruction was starting to come to light.

There is damage to buildings, there’s a lot of rubble and rocks that have been thrown up but people now trying to get back to normal in the capital,” additionally that clean-up efforts were under way to get rid of the “thick film of ash” blanketing the area.

New Zealand and Australia have however done surveillance flights to assess the damage in efforts to help the country.

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