Eruption and tsunami in the Pacific: the threat is over, significant damage in Tonga
Eva Deschamps / January 16, 2022
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano in Tonga on Friday caused a huge mushroom cloud of smoke and ash and a tsunami that affected many countries.
Countries on the Pacific Rim can breathe easy. The tsunami triggered by the spectacular eruption of a volcano in the Tonga Islands caused significant damage in Nuku'alofa, the capital of the archipelago, but no casualties have been reported, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday. Above all, the tsunami threat has been declared over.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said at 3:00 am GMT that the threat of tidal waves had generally passed for the countries bordering the ocean, although slight variations in sea level remain possible for a few hours.
The United States ready to send help
New Zealand will send a military reconnaissance plane to fly over the region Monday if the volcanic ash cloud allows. Communications with Tonga have been cut off since the eruption damaged a submarine cable, but Jacinda Ardern said her government had made contact with the New Zealand High Commission in the capital. She also said that there was no significant eruption underway and that the ash had stopped falling, but that further volcanic activity could not be ruled out.
Deeply concerned for the people of Tonga who are recovering from the consequences of a volcanic eruption and a tsunami, tweeted Antony Blinken. The U.S. Secretary of State also said that the United States is ready to send aid to our neighbors in the Pacific.
Japan affected, as well as Peru
Stunning views taken from space showed the moment of Friday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, on one of Tonga's uninhabited islands. It triggered a tsunami that flooded the Pacific coastline from Japan to the United States to Peru.