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Tonga volcano: first pictures after eruption show islands blanketed in ash, as two deaths confirmed | Tonga volcano

Some of the first photos have emerged from Tonga’s volcano and tsunami-hit islands, after a New Zealand defence drive surveillance flight returned from the cut-off nation, as two deaths from the catastrophe have been confirmed in Tonga.

Aerial pictures of Nomuka, a small island in the southern a part of the Haʻapai group, reveals land and bushes coated with ash and different harm inflicted by the massive undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami that hit the Pacific nation on Saturday.

Before and after Satellite imagery shows affected areas of Tonga.
Earlier than and after Satellite tv for pc imagery reveals affected areas of Tonga. {Photograph}: UNOSAT

Satellite tv for pc imagery analysed by the UN reveals related scenes in Kolomotua, Tongatapu, and Fafaa Village, Kolofo’ou: whereas some buildings stay standing, others seem to have collapsed, and the whole panorama is coated with gray ash.

At Fua’amotu Worldwide Airport, the runway seems to have been inundated, and is partly lined by both ash or filth. Different satellite tv for pc photos show that flooding got here in a number of blocks from the shoreline.

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Before and after Satellite imagery shows affected areas of Tonga.
Earlier than and after Satellite tv for pc imagery reveals affected areas of Tonga. {Photograph}: UNOSAT

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai undersea volcano, 65km north of Tonga’s capital, is regarded as the most important volcanic occasion in 30 years. Preliminary movies and images had been posted on social media of the tsunami wave sweeping in, however they had been adopted by silence, after the principle communications cable was broken. Communications from Tonga have been extraordinarily restricted in the times since.

Tongans all over the world could also be pressured to attend weeks for normal contact to renew, after testing confirmed that the cable connecting the islands to the surface world was lower in at the least one place.

A spokesperson for Southern Cross Cable, which operates different undersea cable networks throughout the area, stated that testing by Fintel and Tonga Cable on Sunday afternoon “appears to substantiate a probable cable break round 37km offshore from Tonga”.

Before and after Satellite imagery shows affected areas of Tonga.
Earlier than and after Satellite tv for pc imagery reveals affected areas of Tonga. {Photograph}: UNOSAT

On Tuesday, New Zealand’s ministry of overseas affairs and commerce stated there had been two confirmed deaths in Tonga from the catastrophe, one in every of which was a British nationwide.

There have been no official confirmations of casualties from Tongan authorities, however the household of Angela Glover, a British girl residing in Tonga who went lacking in the tsunami, reported on Monday that her physique had been discovered.

New Zealand overseas affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta stated on Tuesday that the ash might trigger issues for getting help into the nation by way of aircraft.

Before and after

“Photographs show ashfall on the Nuku’alofa airport runway that should be cleared earlier than a C-130 Hercules flight with humanitarian help can land,” she stated.

The United Nations Workplace for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated in a briefing on Monday there was vital infrastructural harm round the principle island of Tongatapu. “We’re notably involved about two small low-lying islands – Mango and Fonoi – following New Zealand and Australian surveillance flights confirming substantial property harm,” they stated.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a view of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
This satellite tv for pc picture offered by Maxar Applied sciences reveals a view of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. {Photograph}: AP

New Zealand has dispatched two naval ships carrying water and different help provides. Mahuta stated the New Zealand Authorities had allotted an extra $500,000 in humanitarian help, taking its preliminary funding whole to $1 million.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern stated on Monday that contact had not but been established with many coastal areas past the capital, Nuku‘alofa.

Before and after Satellite imagery shows affected areas of Tonga.
Earlier than and after Satellite tv for pc imagery reveals affected areas of Tonga. {Photograph}: UNOSAT

“Nuku‘alofa is roofed in thick plumes of volcanic mud however in any other case situations are calm and secure,” Ardern stated. “We now have not but acquired information from different coastal areas.”

With communications severely restricted, many Tongan diaspora communities are desperately ready for information from their households.

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The Royal New Zealand air drive Orion plane left Auckland on Monday morning, with plans to fly over the Ha’apai group of islands, after which the principle island of Tongatapu, to evaluate harm and see if runways had been clear for subsequent planes to land.

The Australian defence drive additionally despatched a surveillance aircraft on Monday, to evaluate harm to essential infrastructure such as roads, ports and energy traces.

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