Disaster Relief Medical Equipment on-route to Tonga
11 May 2022
Photo: The shipping container full of beds and medical supplies ready for Tonga. Left to right: Maureen Waddington, Carolyn Mornane, Alex Demidov of St John of God Ballarat Hospital.
Tonga was left devastated after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai erupted, causing a tsunami in January this year.
Approximately 85% of Tonga’s population was impacted by the tsunami, which saw many injured, and three people sadly lost their lives. Water sources and crops have also been seriously contaminated by the ash and volcanic rubble. Communication with Tonga has been difficult as the country’s international fibre optic cable was severed due to the eruption.
The St John of God Health Care Community Responsibility Fund donated $25k to Caritas Tonga as a first response to the disaster that was unfolding.
Photo: Laurie Treadwell and Ben Frazer from Deutscher Healthcare
After being able to finally make contact with the Ministry of Health in Tonga, their biggest need was hospital beds, and hospital-grade mattresses.
Thanks to donations from Ballarat Base Hospital, St John of God Ballarat and Bendigo Hospitals, Lake Imaging, and Deutscher’s Healthcare, the list of donated goods includes more than 20 hospital beds, over 25 hospital-grade mattresses, examination trolley, and baby cots. There is also a large quantity of linen being donated thanks to Eureka and Gouge Linen.
St John of God Ballarat Hospital has a long standing partnership with Tonga through the Tonga Twinning Program. This program has allowed much needed medical equipment and training to be provided to the Vaiola Hospital over the last three decades.
Tonga Twinning Program Coordinator, Carolyn Mornane, said it was so important to be able to help. “We are very thankful that we were able to provide equipment to Tonga, and that other organisations in the Ballarat community have rallied to support [Tonga] by donating equipment as well.”
The equipment is currently on its way to Tonga, and will be arriving by mid-May.
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