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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tonga. Volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean. Tsunami warning for several countries

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The tsunami warning was issued for parts of New Zealand and several island nations in the South Pacific. The threat of a tsunami and very strong sea currents is brought by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean, which took place on Saturday.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano was strong, the agencies emphasize. The eastern coast of the Samoa Islands, part of the American Samoa Territory, has seen an ocean level rise of about 70 centimeters, according to a press release released Saturday.

The Australian Meteorological Agency (BOM) reported that 1.2 meters high waves occurred north of the city of Nuku’alofa, the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga, which is directly adjacent to the volcano. The Reuters agency writes that its beaches and numerous bays could be endangered there if the water level exceeded safe levels.

Tsunami warnings

The tsunami warning was issued by the New Zealand crisis management center in Wellington, Reuters reports, recalling that Saturday’s eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which has recently activated, was another in a series of eruptions recorded in recent weeks. The threat of a tsunami in New Zealand exists in the north and east coasts.

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The alert also applies to several island states in the southern Pacific Ocean, including Fiji.

The tsunami warning for American Samoa and Hawaii has been canceled. However, no alert has been issued for mainland Australia, its islands or territories. The Australian meteorological agency, however, ensures that it monitors the situation on an ongoing basis.

Videos appeared on social media showing waves breaking into the coast.

The water level is rising due to climate change

– Around Tonga, as in the entire Pacific, the water level is constantly rising. This means an impending catastrophe, because most of the country is located 1-2 meters above sea level. Just like Kiribati, Tuvalu and other islands, we will be under water if climate change goes in the same direction as before, said Uili Loisi, a member of the Tonga delegation at the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, in November.

The Tonga archipelago is located in the so-called ring of fire, which is a zone of continuous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that surrounds the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific ring of fireMaciej Zieliński / PAP / Reuters

Main photo source: Google Maps, WeatherWatch.co.nz/Twitter

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