“A 1.20m tsunami was observed in Nuku’alofa”, the country’s capital, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced, after another massive eruption – heard up to hundreds of kilometers away – from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga volcano Ha’apai.
Residents of the Tonga islands were fleeing to the heights on Saturday in the face of a tsunami caused by a new massive eruption – heard up to hundreds of kilometers – of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano. “A 1.20 m tsunami was observed in Nuku’alofa”, the country’s capital, announced the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The previous tsunami had not exceeded 30 cm. And the alert had just been lifted when the volcano erupted again.
“It was a massive explosion,” local resident Mere Taufa, who was at home preparing dinner, told the Stuff news site. “The ground shook, the whole house shook. It was coming in waves. My younger brother thought bombs were exploding near our house,” she said. A few minutes later, the water invaded their house, and she saw the wall of a neighboring house crumble. “We knew straight away it was a tsunami, with this water gushing into the house. You could hear screams all around, and everyone started fleeing to higher ground,” she added. .
The king evacuated, the population called to move away from the coasts
The eruption lasted eight minutes, and was so loud it was heard “like a distant thunderous sound” over the Fiji Islands, more than 800 km away, Fiji officials said. They also warned residents to cover water supplies to protect them from acid rain or ash.
1.14.2022: (correction on date) Large volcanic eruption near Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano) today as seen from outer space. Shown on visible imagery using the Himawari satellite. #hiwx#tsunami#earthquakepic.twitter.com/Y18W7wvXl9
— NWS Honolulu (@NWS Honolulu) January 15, 2022
Update: I clipped part of a Live stream by someone name Siosaia Langilangi on Facebook that allegedly shows when the explosive eruption was heard and started fleeing when he saw something that concerned him.(Loudness & Expletive warnings)
Full live stream: https://t.co/Bucw8xL9iYpic.twitter.com/vhItVbtEXi
—Legendary Johnny (@LegendaryJohnn2) January 15, 2022
Stay safe everyone pic.twitter.com/OhrrxJmXAW
— Dr. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022
King Tupou VI of Tonga was evacuated from the royal palace of Nuku’alofa and taken to a villa far from the coast. Victorina Kioa, of the Tonga Public Utilities Commission, called on people to “get away from all places that are at risk, that is beaches, reefs and all flat coasts”. The authorities have also advised the entire population to stay indoors as much as possible, to wear masks if they have to go out and, there too, to protect all water supplies.
Tsunami warnings have also been issued for Fiji and Samoa, New Zealand and Australia. Australian authorities have warned people in Sydney and surrounding New South Wales to “get out of the water, and stay away from the water’s edge”. Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is located on one of the uninhabited islands of Tonga, about 65 km from the capital Nuku’alofa.
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