25 Jan 2014

New Zealand gives additional cyclone aid to Tonga

5:53 am on 25 January 2014

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, has announced additional assistance for the cyclone recovery efforts in Tonga, including the provision of six technicians to help repair the electricity network.

New Zealand is to provide a front end loader and tractors to clear debris on the islands of Ha'apai, hand tools for the less accessible islands, and assist with the rebuild of the Tongan government's nursery.

Mr McCully says crops were severely damaged in the cyclone and quick replanting is essential to prevent food shortages and promote trade.

He says the technicians being sent are Tongan speakers familiar with the local environment and will speed the reconnection process by several weeks.

Mr McCully says New Zealand's priority is to assist recovery efforts so life in Ha'apai gets back to normal as quickly as possible.

New Zealand has now provided about two million US dollars in aid for the cyclone recovery process.