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Giant Volcanic Eruption Triggers Tonga Tsunami

Jan 15, 2022

Umm Muhammed Umar

Tonga has been hit by a tsunami following an undersea volcano. According to the BBC, the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano could be heard as far as New Zealand and Australia. “Loud thunder sounds” were heard in Fiji, more than 800km away, with the Fijian government having issued a tsunami advisory. Fiji has also opened evacuation centres for people in low-lying coastal areas.

Social media footage showed water gushing through a church and several homes on Tonga. Tonga Geological Services said that gas, smoke and ash from the volcano reached as high as 20km into the sky.

Residents ran for higher ground after a tsunami warning had been issued. According to the BBC, Vanuatu, another Pacific Island nation in the, issued a similar warning.

Meanwhile, Professor Shane Cronin, a volcanologist at the University of Auckland, said the eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in 3 decades. He said, “The most remarkable thing about it is how rapidly and violently it’s spread…… I expect there to be many centimetres of ash that have been deposited on Tonga.”

Australia, which has also issued a tsunami warning for parts of its east coast and Tasmania, said it was monitoring the situation on Tonga and would provide support on request. In New Zealand, more than 2 300km away from Tonga, “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore” were reported by the National Emergency Management Agency.

 

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