ASDF plane carrying water arrives in stricken Tonga

A C-130 transport plane sent by the Air Self-Defense Force carrying drinking water arrived in Tonga on Saturday after an underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami hit the Pacific island nation over the weekend last.

The plane left Komaki Air Base in central Japan on Thursday with drinking water prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a government-linked aid agency. He landed at an Australian air base on Friday before taking off for Tonga on Saturday morning.

The ASDF is sending another C-130 loaded with drinking water and two C-2 transport planes to the tsunami-stricken country as part of Japan’s relief effort.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force transport vessel Osumi is also set to depart for Tonga to deliver pressure washers and handcarts which will be used for volcanic ash disposal.

Australia and New Zealand have also dispatched planes and transport ships loaded with disaster relief.

The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on January 15 sent tsunami waves across the Pacific, killing at least three people and causing extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure in Tonga.

Tonga’s water supply has been disrupted by volcanic ash and salt water and securing access to safe drinking water is “a key immediate priority”, according to the International Federation of Red Cross Societies and the Red Crescent.

The United Nations said on Thursday that around 84,000 people in the archipelago were affected by the disaster, more than 80% of the population of around 105,000.

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