December 7, 2022

The first images of Tonga volcanic eruption damage show communities covered in dense ash

On the main island of Tonga, in the capital’s Kolofo district, satellite images show a similar scenario, with trees and houses completely covered by volcanic debris. Some buildings appear to have collapsed and aid workers are currently concerned about water pollution and food security in the district.

Back and forth: SSatellite images of the main port in Nokuoloba, the capital of Tonga, show the impact of a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami.

But as Tonga’s first deaths in the natural disaster were confirmed and rescue efforts continued, aid workers warned that the true extent of the devastation was unknown. Communications have been severely affected by the disaster – some small islands have been completely cut off.

Alexander Mathews, director of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Cross, said that apart from the ash, there was “massive coastal damage as a result of the tsunami wave”.

“We are particularly concerned about the low-lying islands near the eruption,” he added. “At the moment, we know very little.”

According to officials from several donor countries, humanitarian aid to the country has been hampered by ashes on the runway of the capital’s airport.

New Zealand will send two Royal Navy ships to its fellow Pacific island nation on Tuesday, the country’s defense minister Beanie Henare said in a statement, adding that it would take three days to reach Tonga.

Two ships – including HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa – will carry a Seaspride helicopter and humanitarian and disaster relief supplies, Beanie said.

“Water is a high priority for Tonga at this stage and the HMNZS Aotearoa can carry 250,000 liters and the desalination plant can produce 70,000 liters a day,” he added.

Aerial view of the P-3K2 Orion Surveillance aircraft shows a high ash fall on January 17, 2022 in Nomuka, Tonga.

Significant damage has been reported throughout Tonga, home to more than 100,000 people, most of whom live on the main island of Tongatabu. According to Shyrana Ali, CEO of Save the Children Fiji, at least 100 homes across the archipelago have been damaged and at least 50 completely destroyed. But he added that the number could rise as rescue workers work to restore communication links.

“This is a unique crisis that we face due to lack of communication … The biggest challenge at this stage is to get detailed information from the authorities and Tonga,” Ali said, adding that they expect to see water shortages. In the coming days.

An important underwater communication cable connecting Tonga to Fiji has been damaged and repairs are not expected to begin until February 1.

“This cable is essential for Tonga to have all digital connections with the rest of the world,” Dean Weverka, chief technology officer and executive vice president of operations at South Cross Cables, said Tuesday.

An underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga that triggered a tsunami alert for several South Pacific island nations can be seen in a satellite image taken on January 15, 2022.

Deaths in Tonga

At least three people have been killed in Tonga as tsunami waves hit the coast, flooding residential communities and cutting off electricity.

The three dead were a 50 – year – old British man, a 65 – year – old woman from Mango Island and a 49 – year – old man from Nomuka Island, Tonga’s Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

The body of British woman Angela Clover was found after she was swept away by waves, her brother Nick Ellini said in a statement Monday.

Clover, who lives with her husband in the capital, Nuku’aloba, and runs an animal welfare charity, said Ellini tried to rescue her dogs when the waves hit.

“It was Angela’s dream to swim with the whales, and it was Tonga who gave her the opportunity to fulfill these dreams,” Ellini said.

According to experts, the eruption of Hanga Tonga-Hunga Habai on Saturday may be the largest volcanic eruption recorded since the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo in the Philippines.

It created waves up to 15 meters high, which hit the west coast of Tongatabu, ‘Yuva and the Hobby Islands.

The Prime Minister’s Office said all the houses on Mango Island had been destroyed; Only two houses remain on the island of Phonofu and major damage was done on Nomuka Island.

It is not clear how many homes were on the islands before the massive volcanic eruption on Saturday and the tsunami that followed.

Prime Minister Xiaozi Sovaleni said additional relief efforts had been sent to Mango, Fonofuwa and Nomuka based on the severity of the damage found.

Evacuation processes have begun for the affected areas from the small islands of Atta to Tongadapu and from Mango and Phonofuwa to Nomuka Island.

The Prime Minister’s Office has said that all domestic and international flights have been postponed until further notice as airports are still allowed.

Photos and videos immediately uploaded on social media showed people fleeing the tsunami, and the afternoon sky was already dark from the gray cloud. Boats and large boulders washed ashore in Nuku’aloba, damaging shops along the coast.

Tsunami waves were felt Thousands of miles Far away on the west coast of Hawaii, Japan and the United States. The Peruvian National Police said on Sunday that at least two people had died in Peru due to “strange waves”.

This volcanic eruption sits on the active Pacific Ring of Fire, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital of Tonga.

It has been active since December 20, but was declared inactive on January 11, according to CNN subsidiary Radio New Zealand.