Earthquake News

Stunning new images from Tonga show the devastation caused by the volcano and tsunami.


As a more complete picture of the devastation brought on by the eruption of an undersea volcano near the Pacific archipelago nation of Tonga on Saturday begins to take shape, officials and the Red Cross reported Wednesday that three of Tonga's smaller islands had sustained serious tsunami wave damage. The explosion was potent enough to cause a tsunami warning for the United States. Pacific Coast.
Few homes remain standing after settlements were hit with 15-meter (49 feet) high waves, according to a ship that reached the distant islands of Nomuka, Mango, and Fonoifua on Wednesday. Communications have been down throughout Tonga since the eruption, but Katie Greenwood, the head of delegation in the Pacific for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which had two teams there, said that the organization had two teams there.

Photos depicting damage in the capital city, Nuku'alofa, have also started to surface after days of little information being shared.

This screen capture from video filmed by Broadcom Broadcasting FM87.5 employee Marian Kupu depicts the aftermath of the volcano eruption and tsunami in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, on January 18, 2022.
In an interview with The Associated Press from Fiji, Greenwood said, "Very bad information has come to light overnight about the three islands about which we were most concerned—that they have all experienced devastating effects as an effect of these oncoming waves." "The majority of the buildings and homes on those islands have been totally destroyed."

The tsunami has been referred to by the government of Tonga as "an unprecedented calamity" for the nation. According to the report, the tsunami entirely destroyed one hamlet while leaving only a few houses standing in several other villages, according to AFP.

Damage in the capital area is visible in photographs supplied by the Kingdom of Tonga's consulate.

As the world waited for information on the magnitude of the devastation and what kind of outside assistance could be required, locals started cleaning up the area.

Tonga is an archipelago of islands in the South Pacific that is 1,480 miles northeast of New Zealand and home to around 105,000 people. On the island of Tongatapu, where the nation's capital is situated, about two-thirds of its inhabitants reside.

After a volcano eruption and tsunami hit Nuku'alofa, Tonga, on January 18, 2022, people cleaned up the debris. 


Tonga has effectively kept COVID-19 outside of its borders with the exception of one case detected in a tourist from New Zealand in October, complicating matters. It is yet unclear what assistance Tonga needs or wants from the international community.

In light of the pandemic, Greenwood acknowledged that Tonga is hoping for "virtually frictionless disaster relief," but added that this is also understandable given the situation.

New Zealand has already despatched two ships in anticipation of the nation's requirements. One is transporting a desalination unit that can produce 70,000 additional liters (18,492 gallons) of water per day and 250,000 liters (66,000 gallons) of water, and another is bringing a survey and diving team to aid with the assessment.

According to Peeni Henare, New Zealand's defense minister, they should get there in three to four days, however one estimate put that date as early as Friday.

As we approach the Tongan islands, he explained, "We don't know what the shipping routes look like, so we want to, of course, proceed with a bit of caution."

The teams on their way, according to New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, would also be prepared to assist with the evacuation of the roughly 150 residents of the destroyed outlying islands.

When the Tonga government needs help and is happy with the COVID protocols, she remarked, "We stand ready to assist."

In order to better understand what is required, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he anticipated to speak with his colleague in Tonga later on Wednesday. Australia is also ready to send help by ship and air.

He declared, "Our defense troops have established their operation and are deploying as necessary and instructed." So, we are quite concerned about our family in Tonga.

Volcanic ash covered the main island.

There was anticipation that it would be ready as early as Thursday as volunteers have been laboring to clear the way for relief flights to land.

The runway is not believed to be damaged beneath the ash, according to Mahuta, but they won't know for sure until everything has been cleared.

A reconnaissance plane from New Zealand has previously flew over the affected islands and given the information to Tonga's administration.

The one underwater fiber-optic connection that links Tonga to the rest of the world was likely severed in the eruption, which has severely curtailed communication. The cable's owner warned the repairs could take many weeks.

Satellite communications have also been spotty due to the significant amount of ash in the air, but Greenwood noted that things are getting better.

Two local locals and a British woman were among the three fatalities, according to the government on Tuesday, though it cautioned that the number is likely to climb as more reports come in from remote locations.

On January 14, 2022, an eruption takes place at the submerged volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific.TONGA GEOLOGICAL SERVICES/VIA REUTERS
The ash that has turned Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga, into a gray moonscape and contaminated the rainwater that locals typically rely on to drink, may be the largest issue there.

Clean drinking water remained the most important necessity, according to Greenwood, who noted that residents had been told in advance to protect their water supplies.

Water needs and the need for shelter are currently of the utmost importance, she declared.

As of the now, she said, the Tonga Red Cross, which has around 20 staff members and 100 trained volunteers, is giving out shelter kits and other supplies.

Koniseti Liutai, the deputy president of the Tonga Australia Chamber of Commerce, said his group was helping members of the local Tongan community in Sydney by providing free shipping containers so they could send supplies to their family members back home.

He emphasized that they were specifically attempting to address needs they had identified, such as those of the elderly or crippled.

He stated, "We are aware that the governments of Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations are tackling food and water. We're attempting to be a little more specific in terms of family needs.

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