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Hundreds stranded in Tonga -

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SHANE MCLEOD: In the Kingdom of Tonga, rescue workers are struggling with a lack of resources as
the Government has revealed that at least 1,000 people are stranded on the northernmost island
after the tsunami.

Nine people were killed, and with only one plane managing to land on a damaged airstrip,
authorities have only been able to transport five critically ill people to hospitals in the
capital. Among them is a four-year-old.

Jeff Waters is our reporter in Tonga.

SHANE MCLEOD: Jeff Waters, what's the situation on the ground there now?

JEFF WATERS: Well I've just been to a press conference that was held by the Defence Department here
and they say that about a thousand people are in desperate need of assistance on the northern
island of Niuatoputapu which is about an hour and a half's flight north of the capital, the main
island of Tonga.

Now most of the people living on the island have lost their homes and they're left, many are left
standing in the clothes that they were in when they were in bed when the waves hit.

A patrol boat, a Tongan, very small Tongan patrol boat arrived there yesterday and took a medical
team. They've set up a small tent hospital. But they could only take limited supplies of food and
water with them.

Now there's only one plane in Tonga that can land on the airstrip; it's a little twin prop. That
landed yesterday. The pilot apparently was, you know, very adventurous in doing so and quite brave.

But and it flew out, that plane flew out a number of critically ill people, a small number of
critically ill people who are now in hospital.

The plane returned this morning with the Princess Regent and the Acting Prime Minister who is her
husband to the island there for a visit today, just to try to raise morale.

And, but very little is known about, you know, exactly what the situation is at the moment.

SHANE MCLEOD: Jeff, it sounds as though those logistical considerations are going to be quite
difficult. What about other aid? Is there any prospect of other aid being able to be delivered

JEFF WATERS: Yeah you're right. It's a real tyranny of distance. It's one of the world's most
remote islands and it must seem a lot more isolated today.

There's a French frigate in town. It's being loaded with supplies as we speak. It's hoping to get
underway tonight but that means it will only be arriving late on Sunday. And that's the closest aid
that these people can hope for really.

Apparently there's an Australian commercial flight arriving tonight that will be bringing aid as
well, though the Tongans don't exactly know how they'll get that aid to the island yet.

And New Zealand is also offering assistance. They'll be flying in their aid on a military aircraft.
But again that aircraft cannot land on the island so it has to be ferried by boat.

So all this aid will just dribble in over the coming weeks.

SHANE MCLEOD: And how are Tongans feeling about what's happened over the past few days?

JEFF WATERS: They're quite shocked. And they're mainly very grateful that the major, you know,
towns and cities in this country weren't hit because it's a very low lying country.

But of course they feel very badly for those people who are caught on the island and can't get off.

But it's a very tight knit community and a very religious community, so the churches are
coordinating a big response. They're poor people here themselves but they're all giving food and
clothing to the churches to hopefully get onto that French frigate as soon as possible.

SHANE MCLEOD: Jeff Waters.