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Covid Concerns Complicate Tonga Relief Efforts

UNICEF’s resident coordinator for the Pacific Islands said the organization would continue to strive to provide Tonga with supplies without direct contact for now as its government tries to keep the coronavirus from entering the island nation.

Due to the damage sustained by the ash and the heavy amount of ash that’s been falling, all domestic and international flights have been deferred until further notice. Clearing up operation continues and has made quite good progress in the airport. But it’s still not sufficient to be able to land, to land aircraft. Our priorities remain to establish communication, immediate shelter needs and supporting access to safe water. We believe that we will be able to send flights with supplies. We’re not sure that we can send flights with personnel. And the reason for this is Tonga has a very strict Covid-free policy. They’ve been very cautious about opening their borders, like many Pacific Islands are because of the history of disease outbreaks in the Pacific, which have wiped out societies here. That discussion with opening the border to people is something that we need to have, and that W.H.O. will initiate with the government in a cautious manner. But we won’t be doing anything to threaten the safety of their protocols and the safety of their population.

International

Covid Concerns Complicate Tonga Relief Efforts

By Reuters January 18, 2022

UNICEF’s resident coordinator for the Pacific Islands said the organization would continue to strive to provide Tonga with supplies without direct contact for now as its government tries to keep the coronavirus from entering the island nation.

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