Desalination units donated to Haʻapai group

Worries over a lack of drinking water in the Haʻapai group of Tonga have been alleviated after desalination units that can convert seawater into 4000 litres of drinkable water a day arrived last week.

Donated by the New Zealand Red Cross, the portable desalination units are designed to be easily handled and monitored.

“The desalination plants pack into “suitcases” weighing 32 kilogrammes each”, it says.

The New Zealand organisation says that what the units could produce a day would provide enough water for about 300 people.

The islands experienced low rainfall over the past three months resulting in extremely low water levels.

In January category 5 Cyclone Ian hit Haʻapai islands destroying about 90 percent of the buildings and crops.

“Haʻapai is one of the most vulnerable island groups in Tonga, people are already struggling and recovering from Tropical Cyclone Ian. People need clean, safe water to maintain good health and hygiene,” says Tony Paine New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General.

Dean Manderson, an aid worker from the organisation,  arrived in Ha’apai on Saturday and is working with Tonga Red Cross Society to set up the desalination units.

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