Japan donates new ambulances to Tonga

The new transports and essential medical equipment were handed over by Japan’s Ambassador, Kensaku Munenaga to the Minister of Health, Dr Saia Piukala.

The equipment included 13 medical waste containers, six electrocardiograms, three ICU beds, eight stretchers, 10 wheel chairs, 20 IV stands, eight syringe pumps, and two brand new ambulances.

The medical equipment is the third and final batch of a USD1.5 million made under Japan’s Non-Project Grant Assistance.


Late Tongan Princess laid to rest

After a Friday night vigil at the seaside Royal Palace, the casket was conveyed by the bearer party to the royal funeral cortège, under the charge of the traditional Royal Undertaker, Lauaki.

The funeral left the Royal Palace in a slow procession along Hala Tu'i to the Royal Tombs, led by 100 members of His Majesty's Armed Forces and a Guard of Honour

Students sitting, and mourners lined both sides of Hala Tu'i, bowing their heads in respect as the Princess made the final journey to her resting place.


Tractors wanted to help farmers in Tonga

The Pasifika Safe Shelter Trust has sent several reconditioned tractors to Tonga since the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted last year, smothering fields with tonnes of ash.

Chairman Peter Rodwell said a year or so on there was still a need for equipment to mix the ash into the soil and allow crops to flourish.

"The volcanic ash is actually quite rich in elements."

He said the charity was keen for more non-electronic tractors, particularly old Massey Fergusons because they were relatively easy to fix.

Tonga’s PM heads delegation to Korea-Pacific Islands Summit

The Government said, “The PM will join other Pacific leaders at the first summit between Korea and the Pacific Islands Forum. The first summit is to promote friendly relations for a free, peaceful and prosperous Pacific region.”

“The leaders will discuss areas of cooperation, future partnership between Korea and Pacific Islands, Regional Situation and Cooperation in the International arena.”

Tonga volcanic eruption disrupts satellite signal

An international team of researchers demonstrated an air pressure wave triggered by volcanic eruptions could produce an "equatorial plasma bubble".

RNZ Pacific reports an equatorial plasma bubble, or EPB, is a hole formed in the equatorial areas of the ionosphere, which severely disrupts satellite-based communications.

It can delay radio waves as well as degrade the performance of GPS.

Tonga’s Fisheries ministry receives 20 boat engines

The boat engines are worth about $900,000 Tongan Paanga in total.

 Statement said the engines were presented to a number of people, churches, organizations and communities.”

“This will facilitate Tonga’s development in improving people’s livelihoods and enable achieving Government Priority Goals. This will also further enhance the relationship between the Tonga and China.”


World Bank highlights Pacific debt distress

The report, named Raising Pasifika: Strengthening Government Finances to Enhance Human Capital in the Pacific is a public expenditure review for Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

According to RNZ Pacific, the report's executive summary says the Covid-19 shock, combined with overlapping shocks from natural disasters and global inflation, risks reversing a decade of progress in building human capital across the Pacific.

Tonga road accident claims life of young mum

Tonga Police said they received updates from the hospital that the woman died last Friday morning, five days after the accident on Pea Road.

The young mother was travelling in a vehicle with her husband and three children aged 3 years, 5 and 10-years.

Police said they were heading in a northern direction on the Taufa’āhau Road when the deceased woman’s husband lost control of the wheel, which caused the car to swerve and hit another vehicle that was parked on the side of the road.

The car then crashed into the fence of Free Wesleyan Church.

Interplast specialist surgical team returns to Tonga after Covid

The team will be led by surgeon Dr David Morgan and will include two surgeons, two anaesthetists and two nurses.

A release said given the length of time since Interplast last visited Tonga (due to Covid-19 restrictions), the local surgical team in Nuku’alofa are pre-screening patients from the existing large caseload, and the usual public consultations clinics will not run for this visit.

The team will be visiting the Vaiola Hospital in Nuku’alofa from 25th May – 3rd June 2023.

Magnitude-5.8 offshore earthquake occurs off Neiafu

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said that the quake occurred 109.4 km northwest of Neiafu, Vava'u, the largest town on the island of Tonga, and at a depth of 10 km.

There have been no reports of casualties or material damage as a result of the earthquake so far, and no tsunami warnings have been issued.

It could take several hours until authorities can conduct comprehensive damage assessments, especially in remote areas.

Aftershocks are possible over the coming days.