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Satellite images show extent of damage in Tonga eruption
Satellite images show the spectacular eruption, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a giant mushroom.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga after a huge undersea volcanic eruption. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
18 Jan 2022
Thick ash on an airport runway has been delaying aid deliveries to the Pacific island nation of Tonga, where significant damage was being reported days after a huge undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami.
Tonga’s small outer islands were badly hit by a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami, a Tongan diplomat said on Tuesday, raising fears of more deaths and injuries.
“Alarming” images taken by New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) reconnaissance flights showed an entire village destroyed on Mango Island and numerous buildings missing on nearby Atata Island, said Tonga’s deputy head of mission in Australia, Curtis Tu’ihalangingie.
“People panic, people run and get injuries,” Tu’ihalangingie told Reuters news agency. “Possibly, there will be more deaths. We just pray that is not the case.”
Maxar Technologies released aerial photographs of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano and Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa before and after its main eruption, which could be seen from space.
Satellite images captured the spectacular eruption, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a giant mushroom above the South Pacific.
Tsunami waves of about 80cm (2.7 feet) crashed into Tonga’s shoreline and crossed the Pacific, causing minor damage from New Zealand to the US state of California.
The eruption set off a sonic boom that could be heard as far away as Alaska.
The explosion was the latest in a series of dramatic eruptions.
Tonga is a kingdom of 176 islands, of which 36 are inhabited, with a population of 104,494.
In late 2014 and early 2015, eruptions created a small new island and disrupted air travel to the Pacific archipelago.
The port facilities in Nuku’alofa before the eruption. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
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The main port facilities in Nuku’alofa on Tuesday, January 18 after the huge undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
Homes and buildings in Tonga as shown in a photo dated December 29, 2021. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
This photo after the eruption shows the extensive damage. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
Volcanic ash covers rooftops and vegetation in an area of Tonga. [CPL Vanessa Parker/NZDF via AP]
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a general view of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai on January 18, 2022. [Maxar Technologies via AP]
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Thick ash on an airport runway was delaying aid deliveries to the Pacific island nation. [CPL Vanessa Parker/NZDF via AP]
A satellite image shows the main runway of the Fua'amotu International Airport partially blocked due to volcanic ash from the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, in Nuku'alofa. [Maxar Technologies via Reuters]
Significant damage was being reported days after a huge undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami. [CPL Vanessa Parker/NZDF via AP]
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