A volcano erupted near the island state of Tonga in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Friday. The tsunami warnings reached as far as Japan, and now the USA has also pledged its support.
Update from January 16, 10:55 a.m .: The violent eruption of a volcano both on Friday evening and on Saturday morning near the island nation of Tonga continues to put the Pacific region on alert. Even in Japan, tsunami waves were registered, which is why, according to dpa, the population was called upon to seek out hills. The warning was only lifted on Sunday afternoon (local time).
However, the extent of the damage is still unknown, there are only isolated reports that boats and houses were damaged in Tonga itself. The reason for the uncertainty is apparently the still dense ash cloud that emanates from the volcano. On Monday, New Zealand’s defense forces are finally due to start a first surveillance flight. Ash was still sighted at an altitude of around 20 kilometers, which made flying unsafe, according to the local authorities to the dpa.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is also concerned about the consequences of the outbreak. The UN is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to provide support. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also “deeply concerned” about the outbreak and the consequences for the population. “The United States stands ready to provide support to our Pacific neighbors.”
Deeply concerned for the people of Tonga as they recover from the aftermath of a volcanic eruption and tsunami. The United States stands prepared to provide support to our Pacific neighbors.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 16, 2022
Undersea volcano in the Pacific erupted: authorities warn of tsunami – video shows the extent
First report from January 15: Tonga – In the middle of the sea near the island state of Tonga, an undersea volcano erupted on Friday. Tsunami warnings have now been issued for large parts of the Pacific, including eastern Australia. The dpa reports on this. It is still unclear whether anyone is injured and the extent of the damage.
Volcanic eruption in the Pacific: authorities warn of tsunami – video shows extent
After the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, local media reported on Friday evening that tidal waves had inundated properties on the main island of Tongatapu. In addition, it had rained ash and telephone connections had failed. Even the king of the island state, Tupou VI, was evacuated from the palace and taken to safety in the capital.
Australian weather authorities* report a 1.2 meter high wave in the capital Nuku’alofa. The authorities of other Pacific countries also issued tsunami warnings, including Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand. People have been urged to stay away from coastal areas.
Volcano eruption near Tonga: Video shows huge ash cloud
New Zealand’s reaction shows how strong the outbreak was. Although the coasts are around 2,300 kilometers from the volcano, authorities would warn the population of “strong and unusual currents” and “unpredictable surf” on the coasts, according to Australia’s ABC . People in Tonga themselves should have gotten to safety immediately. A video on Twitter shows the seriousness of the situation. A huge cloud of ash can be seen, the user calls the eruption a “nightmare”.
Between water vapor, lightning and pyroclastic flows, this was the nightmare that was experienced in the vicinity of the #HungaTongaHungaHaapai volcano after its gigantic eruption yesterday. pic.twitter.com/fvRuOYM1YY
– Alejandro S. Méndez ⚒️ (@asalmendez) January 14, 2022
The eruption in the form of “loud thunder noises” was also heard on the Fiji Islands, which are around 800 kilometers away from the eruption site. Meanwhile, the volcano catapulted ash, steam and gas 17 kilometers into the air, according to the ABC . According to this, there was still an eruption on Saturday, so the danger for Tonga does not seem to have been banned yet.
In the middle of the Pacific: volcano near Tonga has been active for some time
The US National Weather Service (NOAA) lifted the tsunami warning for American Samoa alone. Therefore, based on the available data, it can be assumed that the worst is over for the region. However, there could still be fluctuations in sea level.
According to local authorities, tsunami waves of up to 30 centimeters had already been measured before the volcano erupted. In addition, the volcano had been active again since December, so the eruption itself should not have been too surprising. However, the severity of the outbreak is not known at this time. But even in Germany a volcano could erupt. (mef/dpa) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.