State liaises with Aust to establish status of Fiji nationals

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: SUPPLIED

Government is liaising with Australia to establish the status of Fiji nationals in Tonga after the undersea volcanic eruption that occurred last Saturday.

This, according to acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum during a media conference in Suva yesterday.

“This was highlighted that communication is very difficult,” he said.

“Our Minister for Foreign Affairs is, of course, has been reaching out, and as the RFMF Commander has highlighted, the correspondence was sent yesterday, we are unclear whether it has reached them.

“But we have established communications with Australia and they will be providing us information regarding that.”

He said he had contacted the Tongan Prime Minister on Sunday through a satellite phone connection.

“Communications are still spotty, so our call wasn’t long at all. We’ve also formally written to him to assure that Tonga has Fiji’s support as his government looks to respond to their people’s immediate needs and, eventually, mount their recovery.

“We are working closely with the Australian and New Zealand governments to co-ordinate a regional relief effort.

“Australia has established a communication channel with Nuku’alofa and is preparing to dispatch the HMAS Canberra to Tonga’s shores.”

According to a Tongan Government media release on Tuesday, the Hunga Tonga- Hunga Ha’apai volcano claimed the lives of a British national and two Tongan nationals.

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