China's emergency aid the first to arrive in Tonga
Published: Jan 20, 2022 08:19 PM
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian is making remarks at a routine press briefing on July 8. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian  Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Red Cross Society of China has provided $100,000 in humanitarian aid to Tonga and the Chinese government gathered emergency supplies, including drinking water and food, through the Chinese embassy in Tonga, which arrived in the South Pacific country on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday. 

Tongan authorities said it was the first batch of relief supplies the country received after the volcanic disaster.

"China has been closely following the situation in Tonga and has acted swiftly to render disaster-relief assistance to the best of its capability," said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at Thursday's regular press briefing.

A volcanic eruption on Saturday triggered a tsunami and caused catastrophic damage to the South Pacific country, with power, communications and air routes temporarily cut off. Houses, facilities and crops were destroyed. Water sources were polluted and daily supplies were in extreme shortage.

The China-Pacific Island Countries reserve of emergency supplies, located in South China's Guangdong Province, gathered supplies including bottled water, canned meat, medical and hygiene kits, power generators, high-pressure water pumps, and tents, which are ready for delivery, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Poasi Tei, deputy prime minister of Tonga and chairman of the national emergency management committee of Tonga, expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government for providing the supplies, which were the first such supplies the Tongan government received after the disaster and carried the friendship between the two countries. 

Tongans went to the Chinese embassy to express their gratitude, saying that China is a true friend of Tonga.

China will continue to provide financial aid and supplies based on the situation and Tonga's needs, and will do its utmost to overcome the meteorological conditions caused by volcanic ash, Zhao said on Thursday.

Chinese nationals and businesses in Tonga are safe and no casualties have been reported so far. The Tongan government is making all-out efforts to relieve the disaster, and electricity, communications and air routes are gradually being restored. The Chinese embassy in Tonga is operating normally and will continue to provide consular services to Chinese nationals.

Global Times