New Zealand ready to send planes, ships, supplies to tsunami-hit Tonga

Government officials of New Zealand is in the first line to assist Tonga in its struggle to recover from a recent undersea volcano eruption and tsunami.

After this New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said that "after the successful surveillance and reconnaissance mission of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and data have been transmitted to appropriate authorities with Tonga, to help in decisions about what support is most needed."

"However, images show ashfall on the Nuku'alofa airport runway, which needs to be removed before a C-130 Hercules jet carrying humanitarian aid can arrive," Mahuta said.

Meanwhile, two Royal New Zealand Navy ships will leave New Zealand on Tuesday, she said, adding that the eruption caused a communication problem in the operation. The New Zealand government has decided to send both navy ships, the HMNZS Wellington and the HMNZS Aotearoa, out to sea so they can respond promptly if the Tongan government summons them, she added.

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