Tonga: the volcano and the disappearing island, photos

Tonga: the volcano and the disappearing island, photos

For the government of Tonga, this is an “unprecedented tragedy” and the photos still partially tell it. Communications with the country in the Pacific were cut off after the outbreak, on Saturday, January 15, of Volcano Sotomarino, South Africa. The news is incomplete, but the scale of the disaster seems more serious.

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The roar was heard 2,300 km away. The center of the volcano has disappeared below sea level. Saturday was the worst volcanic eruption in the past 30 years.

The two islands between which the volcanic eruption occurred were destroyed. The area is about 70 kilometers from the capital, Nuku’alofa, 30 kilometers southeast of the island of Fonuafo’ou in Tonga. The volcanic eruption caused waves that hit Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the western coasts of North and South America. In Peru, there was an oil spill on some beaches.

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The submarine cables have been damaged and there is little chance of communication with Tonga. No internet, no phones. From new Zeland An aerial survey was conducted showing entire islands scattered with volcanic ash. Impossible to land due to too much ash on the runway.

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Of the 169 islands in the Tonga archipelago, many are uninhabited. In the state live 105 thousand people, at least 80 thousand of whom could have been damaged. The first data talk about 3 victimsOne of them is a British citizen who tried to save her dogs. There are collapsed or damaged buildings in the capital, Nuku’alofa, and throughout the main island of the archipelago.

New Zealand has committed 1 million New Zealand dollars, approximately 600,000 euros, to relief efforts. Australia will also provide assistance. Ships full of water and essential goods have left New Zealand. Adding to the difficulties in accessing the archipelago is the fact that Tonga is Covid-free and entry rules are very strict. A spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, explained that “one of the first rules of humanitarian action is ‘do no harm’ and we want to make absolutely sure that all protocols necessary to enter the city are followed.”

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