After volcanic eruption: flooding in Tonga

After volcanic eruption: flooding in Tonga
After volcanic eruption: flooding in Tonga

The eruption of an undersea volcano near the island nation of Tonga has prompted tsunami warnings across much of the Pacific. A tsunami warning was issued for all of Tonga today, according to the local weather bureau. Local media said tidal waves inundated properties on the main island of Tongatapu after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted. It had rained ash and telephone connections had failed. The extent of the damage was initially unclear late in the evening (local time).

According to media reports, Tonga’s King Tupou VI. brought to safety from the royal palace in the capital Nuku’alofa. According to the Australian Meteorological Agency, a 1.2 meter high wave was observed in the city. The authorities of other Pacific countries also issued tsunami warnings, including Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand. People have been urged to stay away from coastal areas.

Volcano active since December

The US National Weather Service (NOAA) has lifted the tsunami warning for American Samoa. Based on the available data, it can be assumed that the tsunami danger is over, but that there could still be fluctuations in sea level, it said.

The volcano just erupted yesterday. According to local authorities, only small tsunami waves of up to 30 centimeters were registered the day before. Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has been active since December. The volcano is about 30 kilometers southeast of Tonga’s Fonuafo’ou Island (also known as Falcon Island).

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