Container found for donations

Local relief efforts for Tonga have been boosted by news that a container is on the way to transport Dunedin’s donations to the islands.

Tonga was hit by a volcano and subsequent tsunami earlier this month, and local community groups had since turned their focus to sourcing a container.

Now local Tongan community leaders have confirmed a shipping container was sourced by Port Otago, and would probably be in town within the next week.

Relief effort co-ordinator Hale T-Pole said his team was working through the logistics of bringing the container to Dunedin, and hoped to have its arrival date confirmed by Wednesday.

While it was a relief to know that a container was coming, efforts now switched to trying to source drums or other containers to package the relief goods for transportation in the container.

"It’s a bit of a mission because everyone else that have grabbed them are in Christchurch, so we’re still working on some other options with wooden boxes, or storage plastic boxes."

There had been a good community response to various calls for donations, and the team would be looking to organise a central collection point for donations to go into the container later in the week.

Port Otago chief executive Kevin Winders said he had worked with the mayor’s office to get in touch with the local Tongan community.

The port was happy to swing behind the relief effort by providing a 40-foot dry container, and also working with its supply partners to get it to Dunedin and back to Auckland once filled.

"We’ve got KiwiRail and Dynes Transport to assist with getting the container up to Auckland once it’s packed and we’re just working with the shipping lines to get it across to Tonga."


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