Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Smart Citizen Report

BREAKING NEWS

Casualty reports awaited from tsunami-hit Tonga with comms mostly down

2/2 (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with National leader Judith Collins at TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo 2/2

By Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -Tsunami-hit Tonga remained largely uncontactable on Sunday with telephone and internet links severed, leaving relatives in faraway New Zealand praying for their families on the Pacific islands as casualty reports had yet to come through.

An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering warnings of 1.2-metre tsunami waves and evacuation orders on the shores of Tonga as well as several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes.

Internet and phone lines went down at about 6.40 p.m. local time on Saturday, leaving the 105,000 residents on the islands virtually uncontactable.

There are no official reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga as yet although communications are limited and contact has not been established with coastal areas beyond the capital Nuku’alofa, Jacinda Ardern the Prime Minister of New Zealand told a news conference on Sunday.

Tonga, an island nation with around 105,000 residents, lies 2,383 kilometres (1,481 miles) northeast of New Zealand.

“Nuku’alofa is covered in thick plumes of volcanic dust but otherwise conditions are calm and stable,” Ardern said.

“We have not yet received news from other coastal areas,” she said.

Satellite images captured the volcanic eruption on Saturday as the explosion sent plumes of smoke into the air and about 12 miles above the sea level. The sky over Tonga was darkened by the ash.

Concerns were growing among the Tongan community in New Zealand, desperate to make contact with their families back home. Some churches organised community prayers in Auckland and other cities.

“We pray God will help our country at this sad moment. We hope everybody is safe,” Maikeli Atiola, the Secretary of the Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Auckland said, Radio New Zealand reported.

Ardern said the main undersea communications cable has been impacted, likely due to loss of power.

Power was being restored in some areas on the islands and local mobile phones were slowly starting to work, she addedd.

Official damage assessments were not yet available, she said. But Ardern said the New Zealand high commission in Nuku’alofa had said the tsunami has damaged boats, shops and other infrastructure.

Tonga’s cabinet held a crisis meeting on Sunday and was contacting development partners, a spokeswoman for Zed Seselja, Australia’s minister for international development and the Pacific told Reuters. She said Australia would sent a P8 surveillance aircraft to Tonga on Monday.

PACIFIC IMPACT

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades but Saturday’s eruption was so loud that residents parts of faraway Fiji and New Zealand said they heard it.

“My entire house was shaking,” said Sanya Ruggiero, a Consulting Communications Advisor based in Suva, the capital of Fiji, some 750 kms from Tonga.

“My doors, windows were all rattling like hell. And mine was not even as bad as others. Hundreds of people ran out of their homes,” said Ruggiero, who consults for several agencies including the United Nations.

Rumblings and eruptions from the volcano continued to be heard through the night, Ruggiero said. Hundreds of people were moved to evacuation centres in Suva. Fiji Airways had to cancel all its flights due to the ash clouds.

“This is the worst disaster Tonga has had in living memory and the recovery from this is going to take years,” Ruggiero said.

Experts said the ash fallout could contaminate drinking water and cause respiratory issues.

“Help will be needed to restore drinking water supplies. People of Tonga must also remain vigilant for further eruptions and especially tsunami with short notice and should avoid low lying areas,” said Shane Cronin, professor at the School of Environment, University of Auckland.

The eruptions triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, with the United States urging people on its Pacific coastline to stay away from the shores and Australia’s New South Wales region closing beaches.

Hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens were advised to evacuate as waves of more than a metre hit coastal areas.

Casualty reports awaited from tsunami-hit Tonga with comms mostly down

Join Our Time-Limited Free Subscription! Get Latest Trading Ideas, Business Info and Market Stocks.

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

You May Also Like

BREAKING NEWS

2/2 (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September...

Brokers

Sign In/Free Sign Up 0 Stock Markets6 hours ago (Nov 22, 2021 07:52AM ET) (C) Reuters. By Peter Nurse Investing.com — Stocks in focus...

BREAKING NEWS

6/6 (C) Reuters. Smoke and flames rise over during the shelling near Kyiv, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb...

Analytics

Politics31 minutes ago (Oct 28, 2021 03:12PM ET) 2/2 (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his Build Back Better...

BREAKING NEWS

3/3 (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dmytro Dovzhenko, a Ukrainian veteran and military medical instructor, speaks during an interview with Reuters at his home in...

Analytics

4/4 (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Campaign signs for Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin stand together on the last day of early voting...

Disclaimer: TheSmartCitizenReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively “The Company”) do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice.

The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

© Copyright 2022,TheSmartCitizenReport.com All Rights Reserved