3 Oct 2014

NZ Red Cross helps Tonga following drought

12:04 pm on 3 October 2014

Tonga has received aid from offshore to help its Ha'apai island group deal with a drought affecting nearly 8,000 people.

Last month supplies of drinking water hit 20% of full capacity in islands.

The New Zealand Red Cross has sent over a water technician and two desalination machines to alleviate the drinking water shortage.

The units are estimated to cost over 50,000 US dollars.

The head of the Tongan Red Cross Sione Taumoefolau says the extra units will mean there are more than six machines in Ha'apai.

Mr Taumoefolau says the technician will also help locals use the machines more efficiently.

"These machines were used to respond by the New Zealand Red Cross in the drought in Tuvalu and also in the Cook Islands, this year now in Tonga. One of the main reasons why the technician came is because it's a brand new machine, it's very expensive too but also to train our volunteers and our staff in Tonga Red Cross to make sure how they can use this machine to operate it very well."

Mr Taumoefolau says the machines can make more than two thousand litres of drinking water per day.

no caption

Photo: RNZ