Reconnaissance flights and relief supplies on the way

Reconnaissance flights and relief supplies on the way

Satellite images show a massive undersea eruption of Mount Fire 65 kilometers off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean. Photo: ZUMA Press Wire Service/NOAA

Two days after the massive eruption of an undersea volcano near the Pacific island of Tonga, military aircraft appeared from New Zealand and Australia Explore the situation from the air. The extent of damage in the South Seas archipelago remains unclear, and Tonga is largely isolated from the outside world. It is still unknown if there have been injuries or even deaths.

Communication links there were still severely broken on Monday – Especially on some remote islands of Tonga that have not been contacted since the eruption of the volcanoes Hong Tonga, Honga and Hapai. Radio New Zealand reported on Monday that the government there will send ships to explore the situation. Tonga has about 170 islands, 36 of which are uninhabited.

Tsunami waves reach New Zealand, Japan, Alaska and South America

Saturday’s eruption can be heard thousands of miles away. A huge cloud of ash rose for several kilometers like a mushroom cloud. The explosion caused tidal waves and put many Pacific nations on alert.

Tsunami waves were not only in Tonga but also in New Zealand, Japan and Alaska South america registered. Aid organizations have warned of the health damage caused by the ash and advised Tonga residents to wear masks and drink only bottled water.

According to experts, the outbreak was the most powerful in the world in 30 years. Volcanologist Shane Cronin of the University of Auckland Radio New Zealand, said preliminary data showed there had not been such a violent eruption since Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991. If the volcanic eruption had occurred on land, the effects would have been “horrific,” Cronin said. It is unclear whether the recent eruption represents the peak of activity. The volcano is also likely to remain erupted for several weeks or even years.

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New Zealand’s Meteorological Service Weather Watch said ash plumes from the eruption have now reached Australia’s east coast. She said the cloud is moving west across Queensland and will cover most of the state during the day.

According to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand wants to send another Hercules machine with critical relief supplies to Tonga. “If the runway in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, is damaged, the material may be disposed of,” Ardern told reporters on Monday.

“The flights that are operating today will help us identify where they are needed,” Ardern said. “We know there is a dire need for water and we hope Hercules is launched today to meet that need.” It is not yet clear whether there are dead or injured.

A New Zealand Air Force plane is ready in Auckland to fly to Tonga.

A New Zealand Air Force plane is ready in Auckland to fly to Tonga.Photo: XinHua/New Zealand Ministry of Defense

As a result of the marine earthquake, an important undersea cable was cut, and then fell Internet in Tonga. Other communication links are also broken, but it seems that the mobiles are at least partially working, albeit only locally and not internationally.

“It is a difficult time but Nuku’alofa is still there, many homes have had electricity restored,” said New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Tonga, Peter Lund. Facebook With. The capital is located under a layer of volcanic ash. Cleaning operations should begin this week.

The submarine volcano, about 65 kilometers from the capital of Tonga, erupted on two consecutive days. While only small tsunami waves were recorded after the first eruption on Friday, the second eruption was also heard on Saturday in New Zealand and Fiji, 2,000 kilometers away. Fijians have been urged to cover their water tanks and stay indoors in case the ash falls.

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(nick/dpa)

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