New Zealand Defence Force prepares ships for Tonga tsunami response

Photo: Royal New Zealand Navy (file)

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is currently preparing ships as part of the New Zealand government’s response to a recent tsunami that affected the island nation of Tonga.

On Monday, January 17, the NZDF said it has placed personnel on shortened notices to move and that Royal New Zealand Navy vessels are being readied for deployment and may deploy ahead of a formal request for assistance by the Tongan government.

The vessels are being readied for the transport of personnel and relief supplies from New Zealand to Tonga to augment military airlift missions, which will commence following an aerial inspection.

The tsunami was caused by the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, which lies underwater 65 kilometres north of Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, on Saturday, January 15. Vulcanologists said the recent underwater eruption was powerful enough that it also generated tsunamis with wave heights of as much as two metres in the coastal waters off Japan, Russia’s Far East, Peru, Chile, and the US state of California.

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