Multinational Group Of Soldiers Works On Water Projects In Ha‘apai Tonga

Troops from Tonga, New Zealand, China, Australia, U.S. conduct disaster relief 

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 18, 2016) – A multinational task group of soldiers from Tonga, New Zealand, China, Australia and the United States are working on projects to improve water storage and sanitation in Tonga as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight 2016, a humanitarian activity focused on disaster relief operations.

Nine 10,000-litre water storage tanks are being installed at churches, the fire station and town hall in Pangai, Ha’apai. A toilet block is also being built near the Pangai Ferry Terminal.

Lieutenant Colonel Josh Wineera, NZDF Task Force Commander and Senior National Officer, said the projects will make a positive difference to the local community.

Medical personnel from New Zealand and Australia are also conducting environmental health tests to assess the risk of contagious diseases to the local population.

US Army soldiers are operating a desalination system that provides a supply of potable water to the group.

“New Zealand and Australian environmental health officers are working with Tongan medical staff on vector monitoring. They are checking mosquito traps and will teach the locals how to recognise certain species that might carry such diseases as dengue fever or the zika virus,” said Flight Lieutenant David Pennisi, Senior National and Environmental Health Officer from the Royal Australian Air Force.

Commander Brisbane Lokotui, HMAF Tonga’s liaison officer said they are impressed by the enthusiasm of the task group.

“It’s great to see the Chinese, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Tongan soldiers working alongside each other. This contingent is clearly well-led and they have an inclusive and respectful nature about them; they have a good sense of humour too,” he said.

“I also like how the junior non-commissioned officers are trusted to go about their work and make decisions.”

The humanitariam activity from July 7-29 in Tonga is funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of the New Zealand Aid Programme.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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