NewsVolcanic eruption off Tonga: Official video shows devastation

Volcanic eruption off Tonga: Official video shows devastation

The Pacific islands around the main island of Tonga are accessible again after the volcanic eruption. An official video from the consulate shows the dramatic destruction.

  • The airport on the main island of Tongatapu has been cleared – aid flights can now land.
  • A Red Cross spokeswoman warns of the “danger of cholera and diarrhea” on the islands, and the fear of Corona * in the previously isolated country is increasing.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is shocked by the extent of the destruction.

Update from Friday, January 21st, 2022, 7:27 a.m .: Almost a week after the massive volcanic eruption off Tonga, more and more states are sending relief supplies to the kingdom, which was partly badly devastated. Foreign Minister Liz Truss announced on Friday (February 21, 2022) that Great Britain wants to work with New Zealand and Australia to deliver drinking water, tents and protective equipment.

The humanitarian aid is intended to help the Commonwealth Pacific nation to deal with the aftermath of the “catastrophic event”. A British Royal Navy ship is also scheduled to set sail from Tahiti on Friday, carrying water and medical equipment, among other things.

Nach dem Vulkanausbruch vor Tonga werden Hilfsgüter aus einem Hercules-Flugzeug ausgeladen.


Relief supplies are unloaded from a Hercules aircraft after the volcanic eruption off Tonga.

The consulate of Tonga in the EU published video recordings showing the severe damage caused by the tsunami, which was up to 15 meters high, in the South Seas archipelago. Many houses, especially near the coast, were completely destroyed, vegetation torn down, and a layer of ash lay on the streets. At least three people were killed. Most of the drinking water is polluted. The government declared a state of emergency.

Destruction after volcanic eruption off Tonga: Queen is “shocked”

+++ 16.00: Queen Elizabeth II (95) expressed her condolences to the King of Tonga for the consequences of the massive eruption of an undersea volcano. “I am shocked and saddened by the impact of the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga,” the monarch wrote to King Tupou VI, Buckingham Palace in London said on Thursday. Sending thoughts and prayers. “It must be incredibly difficult for those who are unable to contact friends and family while communications are down and I hope they will be restored soon,” the statement said.

The massive eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, just 65 kilometers north of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa, ejected a plume of ash and gas about 20 kilometers into the air. There is severe damage on some of the very remote islands of Tonga, which are covered with a layer of ash. At least three people were killed.

Nach Ausbruch von Untersee-Vulkan im Pazifik-Raum


Tonga Geological Survey officials watch and monitor the volcano’s eruption from a safe distance.

Volcanic eruption off Tonga: First plane with urgently needed drinking water lands

+++ 8.30 a.m .: The first flights with urgently needed relief supplies arrived in the Pacific state of Tonga five days after the devastating tsunami. According to official information, military aircraft from Australia and New Zealand landed on Thursday (January 20, 2022) at the airport on the main island of Tongatapu, which had only recently been cleared of volcanic ash. They provided essential supplies such as drinking water, emergency shelter, generators and hygiene products, said New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The planes brought telecommunications equipment for the remote country, which is severely limited in communicating with the outside world due to the failure of an undersea cable. The first images, leaked from Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa, show burnt buildings, fallen walls and streets strewn with boulders, logs and other debris. After the volcanic eruption, the authorities had laboriously cleared the runway at the airport, which had a layer of ash up to 15 centimeters thick, in the past few days. Now that this obstacle has been removed, countries are rushing to send aid. Japan has announced it will be sending two C-130 aircraft, and countries from China* to France* have pledged they will also provide assistance.

Rachael Moore (l.), Hochkommissarin Australiens für Tonga, und Fekitamoeloa ‚Utoikamanu, Außenminister von Tonga, bei der Ankunft des ersten Militärtransportflugzeugs, das humanitäre Hilfe aus Australien liefert.


Rachael Moore (L), Australia’s High Commissioner for Tonga, and Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, Tonga’s Foreign Minister, at the arrival of the first military transport aircraft delivering humanitarian aid to the islands from Australia following the volcanic eruption.

Volcanic eruption off Tonga: First plane with urgently needed drinking water on the way

Update from Thursday, January 20th, 2022, 6:55 a.m .: Six days after the eruption of a submarine volcano off Tonga, the airport in the South Seas archipelago is operational again. After the runway was cleared of the thick layer of ash that the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has blanketed the entire archipelago, a plane carrying aid supplies from New Zealand is en route to the capital, Nuku’alofa, the government said Wellington on Thursday (01/20/2022) with.

In addition to urgently needed drinking water, temporary accommodation, generators, hygiene kits and communication equipment are on board the Hercules machine, said Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Two naval ships with supplies are also on their way to the archipelago from New Zealand, 2,300 kilometers away. The first could arrive later today, it said.

In the Polynesian island kingdom, where there have been almost no corona cases so far, there is great concern that foreign helpers could bring the virus in. Tonga closed its borders in March 2020 and has since largely isolated itself from the outside world. In order not to endanger the population, there should be no direct contact between the occupants of the machine and the people of Tonga. “The delivery of relief supplies is contactless. The aircraft is expected to remain grounded for approximately 90 minutes before returning to New Zealand,” said New Zealand Defense Minister Peeni Henare.

Nach dem Vulkanausbruch: Auf diesem von den australischen Streitkräften zur Verfügung gestellten Foto hebt ein Chinook-Transporthubschrauber am Mittwoch ab, um in Tonga humanitäre Hilfe zu leisten.


After the volcanic eruption: In this photo provided by the Australian Armed Forces, a Chinook transport helicopter takes off on Wednesday to deliver humanitarian aid in Tonga.

Tsunami in Tonga: Volcanic eruption now threatens famine

Update from January 19th, 2022, 2:50 p.m .: The Tonga archipelago, cut off from the outside world by the volcanic eruption, was able to clear the runway of the airport on the main island of Tongatapu again, according to UN crisis coordinator Jonathan Veitch. This means that the first aid flights could land in the Pacific state from Thursday (01/20/2022). International communication has also been partially restored.

Practically all 100,000 inhabitants of Tonga were affected. The interaction of volcanic ash and the salt water from the tsunami affected the water supply, and the population urgently needs drinking water and food. Katie Greenwood of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has already warned of the “growing threat of cholera and diarrhea”.

Initially, a blanket of ash on the airport runway prevented relief flights from landing. Two naval vessels from New Zealand with water supplies and a desalination plant could arrive in the archipelago from Friday. An Australian ship with helipads should set off on the five-day trip to Tonga shortly.

Tonga Tsunami: Volcanic eruption now threatens famine

First report from January 19th, 2022, 11:32 a.m .: Wellington – After the eruption of an underwater volcano * , which you could observe yourself from space, all 169 islands in the Tonga region are covered with ash. The eruption was one of the worst in decades. Due to a damaged undersea cable, Tonga is cut off from the outside world and communication takes place via satellite telephone. Even airplanes cannot currently land there because a layer of ash covers the airport’s runway * . Around 200 people with shovels and wheelbarrows are sweeping the site so planes can bring food and drinking water to the Pacific islands.

Über dem Vulkan Hunga Ha‘apai steigt in nordöstlicher Richtung eine große Asche-, Dampf- und Gaswolke bis in eine Höhe von 18-20 km über dem Meeresspiegel auf.


Above the Hunga Ha’apai volcano, a large plume of ash, steam and gas rises in a northeasterly direction to an altitude of 18-20 km above sea level.

Australia and New Zealand have dispatched naval vessels to ferry aid to the island kingdom, three to five days away. Three deaths have been reported so far – two Tonga nationals and a UK woman * . The Tongan government described the eruption, which sent plumes of gas, smoke and debris from the volcano up to 20 km into the sky, as an “unprecedented disaster”.

UN official: Good progress on clearance on main island of Tongatapu

Disposing of the ash has proved more difficult than anticipated, but good progress has been made and it is hoped flights can resume soon, UN Representative Jonathan Veitch said in the Tonga region on Wednesday morning (19/01/2022). . “We thought it would be operational (Tuesday) but it hasn’t been fully cleared yet because more ash has fallen,” Veitch told reporters.

Veitch also commended the quick response of New Zealand and Australia in sending relief supplies via naval ships. These would have the ability to desalinate seawater and thus provide the local population with fresh food and drinking water. He pointed out that the ships carried “much of our water and sanitation supplies” and described the situation on the island as “very difficult”.

Vulkanausbruch bei Tonga (17.01.2022)


Graphic map: volcanic eruption near Tonga

New Zealand defense minister: ‘takes about three to four days to sail to Tonga’

Peeni Henare, New Zealand’s defense minister, told the BBC his country had recently dispatched two naval vessels which are due to arrive in Tonga in the coming days. “It takes about three to four days to sail to Tonga and they will be carrying large amounts of water, food and medical supplies,” he said.

After the only undersea cable connecting Tonga to the rest of the world was severed in the eruption on Saturday (01/15/2022), communication with the island has largely been disrupted. Since then, many Tongans abroad have been waiting for news from their relatives.

Covid-free Tonga: Authorities worried aid supplies could bring in the coronavirus

Tongan authorities expressed concern that the shipments could spread the coronavirus*. The country only had its first case in October. As the United Nations explained, it is currently unclear whether personnel can be sent to support. Deliveries of water and food are possible, however, as the port on the main island is still functional.

Grocery deliveries were prioritized amid reports that stores were running low on food supplies. Saturday’s volcanic eruption was felt as far away as the US*. In Peru, two people drowned in unusually high waves while beaches near the capital Lima were closed after an oil spill. In Japan, 8,000 kilometers away, tsunami warnings were issued for the eastern coastal regions. (lz) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

List of rubrics: © NZDF/dpa

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