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China providing emergency aid to tsunami-hit Tonga: FM spokesman

Source: Xinhua | 2022-01-21

BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- China has provided Tonga with 100,000 U.S. dollars in emergency humanitarian cash assistance and a batch of emergency supplies in the wake of the recent tsunami there, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.

"The Chinese side is paying close attention to the situation in Tonga, and has taken urgent action to help Tonga with disaster relief to the best of its ability," Zhao said at a press briefing.

The Red Cross Society of China has provided Tonga with 100,000 U.S. dollars in emergency humanitarian cash assistance, Zhao said, adding that the Chinese government, through the Chinese Embassy in Tonga, has managed to quickly assemble some emergency supplies, including drinking water and food, delivering them to Tonga on January 19.

Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Poasi Tei, speaking at a ceremony marking the occasion, thanked the Chinese government for the swift assistance, which is the first batch of emergency supplies the Tongan government has received since the disaster struck, and embodies the special friendship between the two countries.

Many Tongan people expressed heartfelt thanks to the Chinese embassy, calling China a true friend in need, Tei said.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Chinese government will assist the Tongan side with a batch of emergency supplies such as drinking water, food, personal protective equipment, and disaster-relief equipment, which will arrive as soon as the flight conditions permit.

The China-Pacific Island Countries reserve of emergency supplies, located in South China's Guangdong Province, has started the emergency allocation of materials and is ready to ship them as soon as possible.

"Going forward, China will continue to provide assistance in cash and supplies, based on the situation and Tonga’s needs, and will strive to overcome unfavorable meteorological conditions, such as the volcanic ash, to deliver the supplies as soon as possible," Zhao said.

The Pacific island nation of Tonga was hit on Saturday by a tsunami following a series of violent eruptions from the underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, 65 km north of Tongatapu. 

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