The underwater eruption of the volcano and the tsunami that took place in the Kingdom of Tonga on Saturday, the country’s prime minister Siaosi Sovaleni called an “unprecedented catastrophe”. Humanitarian aid is reaching this country in the Pacific. Aerial photos show the islands of the archipelago covered with a layer of ash.
On Wednesday, international telephone communication with the Tonga islands has been restored, informed the telecommunications operator Digicel. However, it will probably be a few more weeks before internet connectivity is restored. This is how long it will take to repair the underwater cable – estimates the American company SubCom.
On Wednesday, New Zealand authorities announced that two warships with humanitarian aid had been sent to the Kingdom of Tonga. Units are due to arrive there on Friday. The International Red Cross announced the sending of over 2.5 thousand people to the archipelago. water containers, as there are concerns that contamination from volcanic sediments has not spared groundwater.
The prime minister of the Pacific nation Siaosi Sovaleni said of an “unprecedented catastrophe” that hit Tonga. He added that ash, after Saturday’s eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano, covered all 170 of the country’s islands, 36 of which are inhabited. Over 100,000 people live there.
According to the United Nations, on Tongatapu, the main island of the archipelago with the capital of Nuku’alofa, where most of the country’s population lives, 50 houses have been destroyed and 100 damaged in a preliminary loss assessment by the Tong authorities, according to the United Nations. All the houses on Mango Island, where 36 people lived, were destroyed. Only two houses survived on the island of Fonoifua. As a result of the eruption and the tsunami, at least three people died. They are also known to be injured.
New Zealand authorities warn of further eruptions
On Tuesday, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that further volcanic eruptions are possible, posing a risk of a tsunami. The ministry relies on research from the New Zealand geological institute GNS Science. “The most likely scenario is for continuous eruptions over the next few days to weeks, with a tsunami threat for Tonga and New Zealand,” it wrote.
According to some experts, including scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption was the most serious volcanic eruption on Earth in 30 years. Tsunami waves on some islands reached up to 15 meters, the authorities in Tonga reported.
Tonga Islands after the eruption in the pictures
The ash-covered Tonga Islands can be seen in the first post-crash aerial photos, which were released on Monday by the New Zealand Defense Forces (NZDF). They were made from the P-3K Orion aircraft during the flight to assess the effects of the volcanic eruption and the tsunami.
Satellite images also show that large areas of the Tonga islands were severely affected by the disaster. Houses and vegetation are under a layer of ash.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano has been completely covered by the ocean.
The Tonga archipelago is located in the so-called ring of fire, i.e. in the area of constant earthquakes and volcanic eruptions surrounding the Pacific Ocean.
Reuters, CNN, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / NZDF