Images show how Tonga volcano blew island to pieces

Images show how Tonga volcano blew island to pieces

An eruption occurs at the underwater volcano off Tonga on Jan 14, 2022, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video.
An eruption occurs at the underwater volcano off Tonga on Jan 14, 2022, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video.

New satellite images released after the dramatic eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday evening have revealed early indications of the damage inflicted on the nearby islands and the Tongan capital of Nukuʻalofa.

In photos published by Maxar on Tuesday, taken first in April 2021 and then again after the eruption, Nukuʻalofa is shown covered in a carpet of dark brown ash, while images from the capital’s port appear to show tsunami damage. The volcano is located about 64 kilometres (40 miles) north of the capital.

Meanwhile the island at the heart of the eruption has been almost entirely submerged, according to the satellite images, with just small spits of land remaining above water. The ash cloud from the seismic event rose up to 63,000 feet (19,000 metres) high, while the shockwave could be felt as far as Alaska, according to AP. 

At least two people, including a British national, are believed to have died in eruption, according to the New Zealand Foreign Ministry. However the true extent of the damage is still unknown, with communications to the island disrupted as a result of damage to an undersea Internet cable.

Efforts were underway in Nukuʻalofa on Tuesday to clear the airport runways, allowing additional humanitarian supplies to be flown in, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.

Payne told local radio that both Australia and New Zealand were providing emergency drinking water and water purification equipment to Tonga due to contamination of the island’s drinking supply by the ash cloud.

A combination of satellite images shows the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano before its main eruption on April 10 last year (top) and the same area on Tuesday in Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai, Tonga.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

APEC ministers meet

Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region start a two-day meeting in Bangkok, with trade and investment promotion in the post-Covid era high on the agenda.

11:12

Vietnam sacks head of main stock exchange

HANOI: Vietnam has fired general director of its main Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the government said on Saturday, as the country intensifies a long-running crackdown on officials it accuses of graft.

10:54

+5,377 cases

Thailand had 37 more Covid-19 deaths and 5,377 new cases during the past 24 hours, with another 6,637 positive results from antigen tests.

08:32