Japan dispatches planes with water, supplies for Tonga

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Self-Defense Forces personnel are among those preparing drinking water to be loaded onto transport aircraft at Komaki Air Base in Aichi Prefecture on Thursday.

As an international emergency relief activity, the Defense Ministry dispatched two Air Self-Defense Force transport planes Thursday to respond to the damage in Tonga after an undersea volcano erupted Jan. 15.

About 300 personnel are tasked with delivering drinking water and other supplies to the island nation in the South Pacific.

The two C-130 transport aircraft left from ASDF Komaki Air Base in Aichi Prefecture, first heading for Australia, which is the center of the relief effort, the ministry said.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency prepared the drinking water, which was delivered to the air base on Thursday afternoon. These were loaded onto pallets by Self-Defense Forces personnel and JICA staff.

The ministry also plans to transport large equipment, such as high-pressure cleaning machines to remove volcanic ash, on the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s transport vessel Osumi, taking the situation in Tonga into account.