The tsunami caused by the eruption of a volcano in Tonga, Oceania, also caused the downfall of internet and telephone lines in the country. According to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the main submarine communication cable was impacted due to power outages, which are being restored in parts of the islands.
The disruption of telephone lines and connection makes it difficult to assess the damage, but the New Zealand government was able to contact its embassy in the Tongan capital. “The tsunami had a significant impact on the northern coast of Nukualofa, with boats and large rocks washed ashore,” Ardern said.
Another impact on Tonga after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, located 65 km north of Nukualofa, is the thick clouds of volcanic dust that cover parts of the country. The ash fallout can contaminate drinking water and cause respiratory problems.
“Help will be needed to restore fresh water supplies. Residents of Tonga must also remain vigilant for new eruptions, especially short-term tsunamis, and must avoid low-lying areas,” said Shane Cronin, a professor at the University of Auckland.
Australia will send a surveillance aircraft to the country to assess damage to infrastructure such as roads, ports and power lines and define the response strategy. The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, said the US is also prepared to provide support to Tonga.
The undersea volcano erupted on Saturday afternoon (15), Saturday morning at Brasília time, and triggered tsunamis in Nukualofa, Japan and American Samoa. According to Fiji officials, the eight-minute eruption was heard “like distant thunder” more than 800 km away.
According to a bulletin from Japan’s meteorological agency, the Amami Islands, in the south of the country, were hit by waves of 1.2 meters at 11:55 pm on Saturday (11:55 am GMT), while a smaller tsunami could be observed in other areas. parts of the Japanese coast.
Meters recorded waves 83 centimeters high in Nukualofa and approximately 60 centimeters in Pago Pago, capital of American Samoa, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Jese Tuisinu, a reporter for TV Fiji One, posted a video on Twitter showing people trying to flee the waves approaching their cars. “It’s literally dark in parts of Tonga and people are running to safety after the eruption,” he said.
On social media, Chile’s National Emergency Office warned of the possibility of a “minor tsunami” hitting Easter Island. Alerts were also issued for the west coast of the United States. Stronger waves hit California beaches, with flooding in the city of Santa Cruz.