Tongans queued for limited money services that were restored in the Pacific island's capital on Saturday, as the clean-up continued a week after a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami, APA reports citing Reuters.
Tonga's government said drinking water was the priority, and a national emergency team had already distributed 60,000 litres of water to residents. A desalination plant on a New Zealand naval ship that arrived on Friday, capable of producing 70,000 litres a day, has started drawing seawater from Tonga's harbour.
Residents who had lost homes on outlying islands when a tsunami reaching up to 15 metres crashed over the South Pacific archipelago would be relocated to the main island, Tongatapu, because of water and food shortages, the Tongan prime minister's office said in a statement distributed to Tongan officials.
Volcanic fallout on the surface of the ocean was damaging boats and making marine transport between the islands challenging, and domestic flights were suspended, it said.
Ash fall and the tsunami had affected 84 per cent of the population, and inter-island communications remain an "acute challenge" with limited satellite and radio links, it said.
Burials were held earlier in the week for a Tongan man and a woman who had died when the tsunami hit the outlying Ha'apai islands. The official death toll is three. A field hospital has been set up on Nomuka Island after the health centre there was swept away.
Faka'iloatonga Taumoefolau, the coordinator for the project to rebuild Tonga's parliament, said the restoration of international money transfer services, for limited hours on Saturday, was important for people to be able to buy essential goods.
"Tongans have demonstrated their resilience in this calamity and will get back on their feet," he said, speaking to Reuters from Tongatapu.
More naval vessels from Australia, New Zealand and Britain are en-route to Tonga to deliver aid. Two aid flights, from Japan and New Zealand, arrived on Saturday with humanitarian supplies, after two flights from Australia on Friday evening.