The volcanic eruption occurred on Saturday afternoon local time, and tsunami waves were seen near the capital of Tonga as well as in American Samoa. Photos of the individuals show how the waves hit homes and other buildings.
Escape from bodies of water
Videos posted on social media show how Tonga islanders are fleeing bodies of water pouring onto beaches. Media in the region reported that the country’s King Tupou VI also abandoned his palace, which is located near the beach.
The underwater volcano Hunga is located in the sea just over six land miles north of Tonga. On December 20, life woke up with several slight explosions and then fell silent again. Until Saturday when it witnessed the most powerful eruption of the volcano to date.
Satellite images show how steam and ash rapidly form a giant spongy cloud said to be up to 20 km into the atmosphere.
A tsunami warning has been issued for several small island nations in the region, but there are no reports so far of major damage or deaths from the tsunami waves.
A large area
Waves 50 to 90 centimeters high were measured outside Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, and Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa. But the tsunami warning that was issued was later withdrawn.
In New Zealand, a warning has been issued for the North Coast.
Strong waves were also observed in the Fiji archipelago in the far east. Since then, the tsunami warning issued for Hawaii, located much further into the Pacific Ocean, has been withdrawn.
Countries warn: stay away from the water
According to the Australian Meteorological Agency, waves 1.2 meters high were measured in the sea north of Tonga.
The situation is being monitored, but no tsunami warning has been issued on the mainland. However, the Australian National Weather Service has issued a tsunami warning for some islands and parts of the country’s east coast.
The authority explained that residents of the areas do not need to evacuate, but should stay away from the water.
The same goes for people who live along the Pacific coast of Japan and the United States. Authorities are urging them to pay more attention and prefer to stay away from water, according to reports BBC.
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