The eruption of the Hongga Tonga-Hung Hapai volcano two days ago covered Tonga with ash, causing a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean, Two people were killed in Peru.
Neighboring countries and international agencies continue to assess the extent of the damage, which, according to the New Zealand Prime Minister, said, Jacinda Ardern, it could be ‘important’.
New Zealand and Australia on Monday sent reconnaissance planes to assess damage and made C-130 military transport planes available to carry supplies or land if the runways were operational.
Australia and New Zealand send planes to assess damages in Tonga after the tsunami
Experts have warned that the internet could remain cut off for several weeks for the nearly 100,000 people living in the country.
Saturday’s volcanic eruption severely damaged the ash-covered capital Nuku’alofa, cutting an underwater cable that could take two weeks to re-establish.
This satellite image shows an underwater eruption in Tonga on January 15, 2022 – Image: Courtesy / Tonga Weather Service
People felt the eruption even in Alaska, which caused a wave that reached the Pacific coasts from Japan to the United States.
“We know water is badly needed,” Ardern told reporters, explaining that New Zealand relies on satellite phones to communicate with the country.
Ardern added that the reconnaissance flights will help inform the Tongan government of the extent of the damage caused by the volcano and tsunami and identify assistance needs.
No contact with the family
New Zealand’s defense minister said the island nation had been able to restore electricity to “large parts” of the city. With communications cut off, Tonga residents outside the country are trying hard to reach their families.
“I can’t contact my family, there is no contact,” Pacific Media’s journalist Filippo Muttolalo told AFP.
“Our house is among those close to the area that has already been flooded, so we don’t know the extent of the damage,” he said. Muttolalo noted that many Tunisians abroad are concerned. “I think the worst thing is the blackout and the fact that we don’t know anything.”
Satellite images show a thick layer of volcanic ash over Tonga – Image: NICT via AP
Many are concerned about the elderly facing the air filled with volcanic dust. The Internet could be out for two weeks, said Dean Veverka, director of Southern Cross Cable Network.
“We’re getting inaccurate information, but it looks like the cable has been cut,” Viverca said. “Repair can take up to two weeks.”
Southern Cross is assisted by Tonga Cable Limited, which owns the 872 kilometer cable that connects the island nation to Fiji and from there to the rest of the world.
Initially, it was believed that the lack of signal was due to a power outage after the explosion. But tests indicated that it was a cable break. Tonga was already without telecommunications for two weeks in 2019 when the ship’s cable anchor snapped.
Then a small, locally operated satellite service was created to allow minimal contact with the outside world.
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