A volcanic eruption disrupted communication with the Pacific island nation of Tonga as New Zealand and Australia sent military surveillance flights to assess the damage.
The thick ash on the airport runway delayed the provision of assistance to the Pacific island nation of Tonga. In Tonga, significant damage was reported days after a large submarine volcanic eruption and tsunami.
UN humanitarian officials and the Tongan government “report serious infrastructure damage around Tongatapu,” said UN spokesman Stephen Dujaric.
“We haven’t heard from the Ha’apai islands, especially after a surveillance flight that confirmed that the property damage was significant, we are worried about the two small lowland islands of Mango and Phonoi,” Dujaric said.
New Zealand troops are sending long-awaited drinking water and other supplies, but runway ash said it would delay flight for at least a day.
The towering ash clouds since the eruption on Saturday have hindered previous flights. New Zealand also sent a Navy vessel to Tonga on Tuesday, another vessel scheduled to depart later that day, promising the first NZ $ 1 million ($ 680,000) for recovery efforts.
Australia sent naval vessels from Sydney to Brisbane to prepare for support missions as needed.
Distress signal detected on lowland Tonga
Communication with Tonga is very limited, but New Zealand and Australia sent a military surveillance flight on Monday to assess the damage. Aerial photographs show the vibrant landscape of Tonga transformed by ashes into a gray lunar surface.
Tonga’s High Commissioner for New Zealand also reported “serious damage” along the west coast of the main island of Tonga, including resorts and waterfront areas. According to the committee, Tongan police confirmed the deaths of two people, including British citizens, from the tsunami.
Satellite images capture a spectacular eruption, with ash, steam, and gas eruptions rising like a giant mushroom above the South Pacific. A tsunami of about 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) hit the coastline of Tonga, crossing the Pacific Ocean and causing minor damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California. The eruption caused a sonic boom that could be heard as far as Alaska.
Two people were drowned in Peru, and an oil spill was also reported after waves shook a ship transferring oil at a refinery.
According to her family, a British woman, Angela Grover, 50, died in a wave in Tonga.
Nick Eleini said her sister’s body was found and her husband survived. “I understand that this horrific accident happened when they tried to save the dog,” Eleini told Sky News. He said living in the South Pacific was a dream of his sister’s life, “she loved life there.”
The explosion at Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai Volcano, about 64 km (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, was the latest in a series of dramatic eruptions.
From late 2014 to early 2015, the eruption created a small new island that interrupted air travel to the Pacific Islands.
Communication with the island nation is restricted because a single underwater fiber optic cable connecting Tonga and other parts of the world may have been cut off by the eruption. Companies that own cables and repairs can take weeks.
Source: TRT World and distributors
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