The prime minister's office issued a statement three days after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano in the Kingdom of Tonga erupted on January 15th. The eruption was described as an "unprecedented calamity" for the archipelago, with three confirmed deaths. The explosion resulted in a massive ash cloud and a wave (two people drowned across the Pacific Ocean in Peru). Volcanic gas explosions were heard more than 2,000 kilometres away in New Zealand, and plumes of gas ascended more than 20 kilometres into the sky. Pebbles showered down on the Tongan capital, Nuku'alofa, which is 65 kilometres south of the volcano, in a biblical flourish.
In the aftermath of the eruption and tsunami, there were fears that the thick layer of ash had poisoned water sources, increasing the risk of diseases including cholera and diarrhoea. Officials emphasized, however, that recent testing had found groundwater and rains to be safe to drink. Fine volcanic ash and gases, on the other hand, continue to pose a health risk to the people. Breathing problems, cardiovascular consequences, and lung, eye, and skin irritation are all possible negative effects of exposure. According to an update from the government, 62 residents of Mango, one of the worst-affected islands, were forced to relocate to the outer island of Nomuka "after losing their homes and all of their personal belongings."
However, authorities have stated that many of those residents may be evacuated to Tongatapu, the main island, due to a lack of food and supplies. There were also fewer than two dozen injuries, the bulk of which were caused by Nomuka, according to the report. Rescuers erected a field hospital after the current clinic was wiped away by the tsunami. Ships and planes carrying humanitarian aid have begun to arrive in Tonga since the island's lone airport runway was cleansed of ash last week. New Zealand and Australia have taken the lead in the international response, dropping supplies such as water, food, hygiene kits, and tents, as well as water treatment and telecommunications repair equipment, using their air force and navy carriers without establishing contact. The lone fibre-optic sea cable providing internet to the remote archipelago was broken by the explosions, and the archipelago was cut off for five days. A wobbly phone line was reconnected last Monday, allowing for "limited international phone calls." Connectivity between Tongatapu, the main island, and the other islands, however, remains “an urgent difficulty,” according to the Tongan government.
Firms had anticipated that repairing the cable may take up to four weeks. The introduction of foreign aid has greatly sped up the flow of information from the beleaguered island. Because of Covid's misgivings, all assistance work is still done by locals through organisations like the Red Cross. To prevent an outbreak, Tonga has requested that no foreign humanitarian workers land in the nation. However, considering the magnitude of the destruction, UN officials in the region Sione Hufanga suggested things may change.
Tags : #volcano #tonga #eruption #nasa #Tsunami