Australia and New Zealand Sent a surveillance plane to Tonga to assess the damage caused by a massive tsunami from an undersea volcanic eruption. On Saturday, January 15, when the International Red Cross told the BBC that Up to 80,000 people may be affected by the disaster.
The eruption of Mount Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai, a large underwater volcano. making the island of Tonga in the Southern Ocean covered in volcanic ash The electric power was cut off. and communication channels were severely damaged
The eruption caused a tsunami that followed. With a tsunami warning, a height of 1.2 meters, hit the coast of Tonga. As the eruption produced a loud noise that could be heard in New Zealand. which is approximately 2,383 kilometers away
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that the tsunami caused severe damage to Tonga While no deaths have been reported
Damage data in Tonga is still scarce at the moment, however, neighboring Australia. and New Zealand A reconnaissance plane has been sent to assess the damage in Tonga.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai had a small eruption several days before the big eruption on Saturday. Tonga Meteorological Agency Announcement to warn the public about the effects of inhalation of sulfur and ammonia. which are reported to be found in some areas of Tonga.
BBC Thai summarizes the latest situation on 17 Jan.
The Tongan representative pointed out that a major problem is contamination in drinking water from volcanic ash.
Reuters reported that the deputy head of the Tonga delegation in Australia has urged the international community to be patient while the Tongan government is making decisions on aid. due to concerns about the situation of COVID-19 that may spread into the country, which now Tonga has no infected people.
“We don’t want to bring another wave, the coronavirus tsunami, into the country,” he told Reuters by telephone.
The deputy head of the Tonga delegation also said: “Any aid that comes in must be detained for review. And it is likely that foreigners will not be allowed to disembark from the aircraft.”
The tsunami severely damaged the subsea communication cable. Expected to start working in more than a week by Australia. and New Zealand has provided assistance with satellite phone calls. Currently the telephone network in Tonga It has begun to work again. But the volcanic ash has raised health concerns for people in the area. especially contamination in drinking water
“Many people are unaware that drinking water is toxic and unhealthy if inhaled. They have to wear masks to protect them.”
Estimated volcanic eruption – tsunami affects 80,000 people in Tonga
Katy Greenwood, the International Red Cross agency in Fiji. stated that urgent aid needed to be sent into Tonga.
“We suspect that up to 80,000 people may be affected in Tonga by major volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and flash floods. as a result of an underwater volcanic eruption.”
She said the incident shocked people. And the Red Cross itself is also monitoring the situation on the outer islands.
Australia and New Zealand send surveillance planes to Tonga
Jan 17: Australia and New Zealand sent surveillance planes to assess damage in Tonga. which is now cut off from the outside world By Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Confirm that Australia will send aid to Tonga as soon as possible. But there was a hurdle from the volcanic ash that prevented relief operations from reaching Tonga.
“There are many challenges. About volcanic ash and the collapse of communications We will work together to send support to Tonga as far as we can,” the Australian prime minister told Australian radio.
The Australian meteorological agency told Reuters that There are no signs that the volcano will erupt again at this time. The volcanic ash that reached the Australian state of Queensland. It’s ash from a previous eruption. Not the eruption on Saturday
Australian Minister of Pacific Affairs It said preliminary reports indicated that there were no injuries to many people. And Tonga Airport is still in good condition. But severe damage was done to roads and bridges, and houses were damaged. in a scattered state
He also stated that A British woman was reported missing from the incident.
The owner of a beach resort on Cape Hihifo, 21 kilometers west of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa, posted on Facebook: It was “totally swept away” and said the family running the resort ran for their lives up the bushes to escape the tsunami.
“The west coast was completely destroyed throughout the Kanukupolu village area. (Kanukupolu)”
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai Volcanoes have erupted sporadically over the past few decades. But the severity of the eruption on Saturday It made people in other countries farther away, including Fiji, New Zealand, the US and Japan, to perceive the explosion. A tsunami is a reaction from an underwater volcanic eruption. Two people were also drowned on a beach in northern Peru. which is the other side of the Pacific Ocean
New Zealand’s weather agency said 26 hours after the eruption, the nation thousands of kilometers west of Tonga Also affected by volcanic ash include Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. And the volcanic ash is expected to spread to Australia’s east coast on Jan 17.
New Zealand volcanologist Shane Cronin said: Previous data indicated that The eruption of Mount Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai was the largest eruption in 30 years since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. which is located on the western side of Luzon Island Philippines in 1991