First official announcement confirms three deaths


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Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano ejected a plume of ash and gas kilometers high, triggering tsunami waves © Tonga Geological Services / IMAGO

In a first official statement, Tonga’s government has confirmed at least three deaths since the massive eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the Pacific.

In a first official statement, Tonga’s government has confirmed at least three deaths since the massive eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the Pacific. The office of Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni announced on Tuesday that there were two Tongans and one British citizen. The communication links to the island kingdom have been massively restricted since the outbreak on Saturday.

As a result of the “unprecedented catastrophe”, injuries were also reported, it said. Accordingly, the eruption created a volcanic ash cloud that covered all the islands of Tonga. The eruption also caused tsunami waves up to 15 meters high.

Tonga’s navy brought vital supplies to some islands. On the low-lying island of Mango, from which a distress signal was received, all houses were destroyed. Two houses remained on Fonoifua. The islanders would be taken to safety by the navy. The ash and damage to the piers made sea and air transport difficult.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai threw a gigantic cloud of ash and gas kilometers high over the weekend and triggered tsunami waves that even swept onto the coasts of Japan, Alaska and South America. (dpa)


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