Updated: January 18, 2022 12:40:52 pm
Tonga, a collection of islands in the South Pacific ocean, has seen major damages after two back-to-back volcanic eruptions in a nearby volcanic island. The first of the two eruptions led to a tsunami which resulted in huge waves thrashing through the nearby islands and smearing thick ash on the airport runway of Tonga’s capital city.
Tonga police have told the New Zealand High Commission that the confirmed death toll stands at two but with communications in the South Pacific island nation cut, the true extent of casualties was not clear, according to a Reuters report. The reported quoted the Tonga navy saying waves of 5-10 metre hit island following the eruption.
The report added that surveillance images taken by the New Zealand defence force and circulated on social media in Tonga showed “catastrophic damage” to the outlying island of Atata. The islands of Fonoifua, Niniva, Nomuka and Mango all had damage ranging from extensive to catastrophic, with an entire village destroyed on Mango, it added.
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Satellite images showed the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano before its main eruption, with images showing the spots of greenery covered with thick ash clouds as the time of the explosion neared.
A kingdom comprising of 176 islands (of which 36 are inhabited), Tonga has a population of over 1 lakh people.
The volcano which erupted is named the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, and is around 65 km north of Tonga’s capital city of Nukuʻalofa. The volcano lies in a very active seismic zone, dubbed the Pacific Ring of Fire, and last erupted in 2015.
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