First images of Tonga after the eruption of the Hunga Ha’apai volcano and subsequent tsunami last week. Leaked photos taken by the New Zealand Defense Force they show devastated villages and areas covered in ash, including the Nuku’alofa airport, making it difficult to deliver humanitarian aid.
New Zealand Defense Minister Peeni Henare has confirmed that the two reported deaths are a Tongan citizen and a British citizen, Angela Glover, the first victim who died dragged by the water due to the tsunami when trying to rescue his dogs in the charity animal organization he directed, according to the ‘New Zealand Herald’.
Leaked images show damage to beaches and homes, as well as large areas covered in ash.
The photographs are listed as “unclassified”, although according to The Guardian, which has confirmed their veracity, they were not intended to be distributed.
On the other hand, the United Nations office based in Fiji said on Tuesday that there were still areas that had not been contacted. The ambassador of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the athlete Pita Taufatofua, visited the emergency supply warehouse that is going to be sent to Tonga on Tuesday.
“We are ready to provide humanitarian support to the Government of Tonga and its people affected by the volcanic eruption and the tsunami,” UNICEF Pacific Representative Jonathan Veitch said on Monday, stressing that they will work with the Government, civil society and other NGO partners to provide water and health supplies on the ground.
Specifically, UNICEF has prepared essential water, sanitation and hygiene kits, water containers and buckets, tarpaulins, tents and other survival utensils, according to the organization on its social networks.
According to a United Nations statement, local telephone lines have been repaired, although the restoration of international telephone connections and Internet service remain complicated after the eruption destroyed the submarine cables, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“I have worked in many emergencies, but this is one of the most difficult in terms of communication and trying to get information from there. We trust 100 percent in satellite phones,” Veitch said, as reported by local media.
In addition, the damage to the infrastructure would have affected, according to the UN, two small low-lying islands, Mango and Fonoi, after surveillance work with helicopters had been carried out above these areas.
“At this time, we don’t have anyone in Tonga», said the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, who explained at a press conference that the World Food Program is trying to send humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, the authorities of New Zealand and Australia have announced the deployment of several planes from their respective Air Forces to supervise and monitor the damage caused by a tsunami after the eruption of the submarine volcano.
As of Tuesday afternoon (local time), New Zealand authorities confirmed that two New Zealand naval vessels would be dispatched to Tonga to provide support, with fresh water, emergency supplies and diving equipment.
“‘HMS Adelaide’ has sailed for Brisbane to be in a position to provide further responses, if requested. The Australian Defense Force continues to support the Government of Tonga by conducting surveillance flights today to help determine the next phase of the response effort,” the official Australian Headquarters Joint Operations Command profile posted on Twitter.
Large areas of the archipelago that makes up Tonga are isolated due to the damage caused by the eruption and the tsunami, which caused the alert over the weekend from Japan to Chile and from Alaska to Australia. So far, two bathers have been confirmed dead in Peru due to waves and material damage in New Zealand.