torsdag 20. januar 2022

Tonga faces 'unprecedented disaster' as New Zealand warns of further eruptions and tsunami risk

A massive volcanic eruption and tsunami near Tonga caused "an unprecedented disaster," the Pacific nation's leader said Tuesday, as New Zealand warned of further eruptions that may complicate the delivery of aid to remote islands where communications are down. In its first official update since Saturday's eruption of the underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano, Tonga's government on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of three people and several other injuries, and outlined the scale of destruction to communities.

Tongan Prime Minster Siaosi Sovaleni said all houses on the island of Mango, where 36 people live, were destroyed. Only two houses remain on Fonoifua island, and extensive damage was reported on Nomuka island, home to 239 people, he said. "An unprecedented disaster hit Tonga," Sovaleni said, adding a "volcanic mushroom plume" extended to cover all of the country's roughly 170 islands -- of which 36 are inhabited -- impacting the entire population of more than 100,000 people.