First shipment of aid sent to Tonga by community members and New Zealand businesses is finally unpacked after completing mandatory quarantine in Tongatapu
So far, 51 containers have arrived at Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa, but Tongan authorities only have enough manpower to manually unload two containers per day. So it will take up to four weeks.
More help is on the way and the Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee wants to help speed up the unloading process by sending forklifts.
Secretary Pakilau Manase Lua has appealed to New Zealand companies asking for at least four forklifts to be sent to Tonga.
“It’s a huge task. We’ve probably had over 80-100 volunteers – spread over the last three to four weeks, so it’s a huge effort”
These things are heavy, they weigh around 150-200kg on average, so we had a little help with the forklifts, so we know the pain the brothers in Tonga are going to go through trying to unpack these things. »
Pakilau said the Mt Smart Stadium team in Auckland also needed additional forklifts.
“This is incredible news, our co-chair, the Hon. Jenny Salesa received good news last night, some of our containers have already been unloaded despite the lockdown delays and recent cases of Covid-19 and have been passed through customs and inspection and were distributed in the villages”.
“These are the first containers to be unloaded, it’s a huge logistics [process], you can understand that Tonga has limited capacity on the dock, they can only clear two containers per day apparently of our goods. There’s almost 51 containers that have been sent over the past two weeks from here, they all landed in Tonga around the same time, so that’s a lot, that’s over a thousand tons of shipping and nearly five thousand people pieces of drums, boxes”.
“We’re just a little disappointed we didn’t think of it sooner, we should have sent some forklifts, the army will manually lift the drums, that’s why it’s taking so long, they don’t have the capacity on the wharf apparently to do all of this, you can imagine there are many other aid and shipping containers that have arrived in Tonga, but the king’s armed forces said no, we will assume this, and they’re literally going to lift these things.”
“It’s not too late, we have another shipment next week and we could put some forklifts in there to help the boys at the dock.”
“We need to borrow at least four more from Mt Smart [Stadium in Auckland] for the next two weeks and we need another 2-4 to send to Tonga.”
“Rather than breaking the backs of our army guys.”
“It’s the same feeling that our brothers there have, so I think those guys are tough, knowing the heart of Tonga, we have the same Tonga Mo’unga Kihe Loto – ‘The mountains of Tonga are in their hearts because the islands are dead flat”.
Ordinary people from across the country dropping off loads of goods, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Palmerston North, Hawkes’s Bay, Hamilton and more.
“These things are heavy.” have water-packed just in front of the container and posts on the drums to help support those unloading heavy drums.
“Aroha is a word that is thrown around lightly, but if you symbolically consider the weight of these containers that have exceeded, it is more than a thousand tons of love and care sent from Aotearoa.”