UN / TONGA UPDATE

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20-Jan-2022 00:02:00
The Government of Tonga has asked the United Nations for urgent assistance, according to a spokesperson, who said the Resident Coordinator, Sanaka Samarasinha, has responded and remains in close contact with the Tongan authorities. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / TONGA UPDATE
TRT: 2:00
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 JANUARY 2022, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

20 JANUARY 2022, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, UN spokesperson at podium
3. Wide shot, journalists in press room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, United Nations:
“The Government of Tonga has asked us for urgent assistance. The Resident Coordinator, Sanaka Samarasinha, has responded and remains in close contact with the Tongan authorities.
As you have all seen from the news, there were relief flights that arrived today from Australia and New Zealand. They have brought in much-needed humanitarian aid, including supplies for water and sanitation, hygiene, and shelter, as well as communication equipment and power generators.
Assessment teams have reached most parts of the country, including remote and isolated islands. National disaster authorities and our partners, including the Tongan Red Cross Society, are carrying out damage assessments in the main island of Tongatapu and on the Ha’apai group of islands.
UN staff in Tonga are supporting the Government’s assessment and response efforts and will help distribute aid once humanitarian needs are identified.
Aid workers are coordinating on the deployment of communications equipment to ensure that the Government and humanitarian responders can do their work and allow people affected by the disaster to contact their families.
We remain seriously concerned about access to safe water for 50,000 people throughout the country. Water quality testing continues, and most people are relying on bottled water. Water, water purification units and desalination equipment are being shipped to Tonga.
Some 60,000 people have been impacted by the damage to crops, livestock, and fisheries due to ashfall, saltwater intrusion and the potential for acid rain.
There are also reports of fuel shortages, but petrol supplies, we are told, are coming in as part of a regular shipment, and with thanks for additional support from both Australia and New Zealand.”
5. Wide shot, UN spokesperson at podium

STORYLINE:

The Government of Tonga has asked the United Nations for urgent assistance, according to a spokesperson, who said the Resident Coordinator, Sanaka Samarasinha, has responded and remains in close contact with the Tongan authorities.

Referencing news reports in a press conference in New York today (20 Jan), UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said relief flights arrived from Australia and New Zealand and have brought in “much-needed humanitarian aid, including supplies for water and sanitation, hygiene, and shelter, as well as communication equipment and power generators.”

Dujarric said assessment teams have reached most parts of the country, “including remote and isolated islands.” He added that national disaster authorities and UN partners, including the Tongan Red Cross Society, are carrying out damage assessments in the main island of Tongatapu and on the Ha’apai group of islands, adding that UN staff in Tonga “are supporting the Government’s assessment and response efforts and will help distribute aid once humanitarian needs are identified.”

The UN spokesperson said aid workers are coordinating on the deployment of communications equipment to ensure that the Government and humanitarian responders “can do their work and allow people affected by the disaster to contact their families.”

He added, “We remain seriously concerned about access to safe water for 50,000 people throughout the country. Water quality testing continues, and most people are relying on bottled water. Water, water purification units and desalination equipment are being shipped to Tonga. Some 60,000 people have been impacted by the damage to crops, livestock, and fisheries due to ashfall, saltwater intrusion and the potential for acid rain.”

Dujarric noted that there were also reports of fuel shortages, “but petrol supplies, we are told, are coming in as part of a regular shipment, and with thanks for additional support from both Australia and New Zealand.”
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