Australia responds to Cyclone Ian in Tonga

Media release

14 January 2014

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced Australia will provide an initial $50,000 in emergency supplies to assist the Government of Tonga respond to the needs of people affected by Cyclone Ian.

Australia's thoughts are with those who have had their homes and livelihoods devastated by this disaster.

The Australian Government has an extensive network of emergency contacts in Tonga, and will work closely with the Government of Tonga to support their response efforts.

The emergency supplies are pre-positioned in various locations around Tonga with the Tonga Red Cross Society. Relief items include blankets, water containers, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and hygiene kits.

Cyclone Ian passed over the Ha'apai island groups as a Category 5 storm over the weekend. There has been one confirmed fatality and extensive damage to housing, crops and public buildings.

An Australian Civilian Corps specialist is currently working with the Tonga National Emergency Management Office as part of a six-month capacity building program. A staff member from the Australian High Commission in Tonga is also helping the Office coordinate offers of assistance following the cyclone.

As part of the initial emergency response, additional assistance is also being provided to the Tongan naval patrol boats under Australia's bilateral defence cooperation program.

Australia will continue to work with the Government of Tonga, Tonga Red Cross Society and other disaster relief partners to meet the needs of those affected as more information becomes available.

The Australian High Commission in Nuku'alofa has been contacting Australians in the affected region to determine their safety and welfare. Anyone concerned about the welfare of Australian family and friends in Tonga should first attempt to contact them directly, noting that communications may be limited.

If you are unable to contact them and remain concerned about their welfare please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or within Australia on 1300 555 135.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555