Some currency services reopen in Tonga, with clean water a priority

Proposal would ban mink farming to stem coronavirus mutation

Burials were held earlier in the week for a Tongan man and a woman who had died when the tsunami hit the outlying Ha’apai islands. The official death toll is three. A field hospital has been set up on Nomuka Island after the health centre there was swept away. Ash fall and the tsunami had affected 84 per cent of the population, and inter-island communications remain an “acute challenge” with limited satellite and radio links, it said. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau, the coordinator for the project to rebuild Tonga’s parliament, said the restoration of international money transfer services, for limited hours on Saturday, was important for people to be able to buy essential goods.

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Volcanic fallout on the surface of the ocean was damaging boats and making marine transport between the islands challenging, and domestic flights were suspended, it said. Residents who had lost homes on outlying islands when a tsunami reaching up to 15 metres crashed over the South Pacific archipelago would be relocated to the main island, Tongatapu, because of water and food shortages, the Tongan prime minister’s office said in a statement distributed to Tongan officials.

The Tongan government has implemented a strict COVID-19 policy that means people, including aid workers, cannot enter the country unless they have undergone a three-week isolation period. Aid deliveries have been contactless, and one Australian aircraft returned to Brisbane midflight on Thursday after being notified of a COVID-19 case among the crew. Aid deliveries expected from Japan and China would also be contact-less to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government said. COVID PRECAUTIONS

More naval vessels from Australia, New Zealand and Britain are en-route to Tonga to deliver aid, as defence flights continue to arrive from Australia and New Zealand. “Tongans have demonstrated their resilience in this calamity and will get back on their feet,” he said, speaking to Reuters from Tongatapu.

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  • Some currency services reopen in Tonga, with clean water a priority
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