Undersea volcano erupts near Tonga, sending large waves crashing ashore


An Australian government spokesman said preliminary investigations were underway and the Department of Foreign Affairs was working to ensure the safety of Australians in Tonga was safe and secure.

“Tonga is part of our Pacific family and our thoughts are with the entire team that is experiencing the effects of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis,” the spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are monitoring the situation and Australia is ready to provide assistance to Tonga if requested.”

Any Australian people affected by Tongan people should contact DFAT on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305.

New Zealand troops are monitoring the situation and standing up, ready to respond if questioned.

Satellite images showed a massive explosion. The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami alert was in place throughout Tonga, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center indicated that 80cm waves had been detected.

Authorities in nearby Fiji and Samoa also warned people to avoid strong and dangerous waves.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has reported that there may be small coastal swellings in Japan, but no catastrophic floods are expected.

News Business News reported that a group of police and military personnel transferred King Tupou VI of Tonga to his palace on the coast. He was one of the many who went up to the high places.

The eruption of Mount Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai was spectacular.

A Twitter user known as Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing the waves crashing ashore.

“Do you ever hear of a volcanic eruption,” he wrote, adding: “Dust ashes and small stones, darkness covers the sky.”

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga newspaper reported that scientists had observed a massive explosion, thunder and lightning near the volcano erupting early Friday.

The site said the satellite images show ash, steam and gas up to 5 km rising in the atmosphere up to about 20 km.

It is located about 40 miles[64 km]north of Nuku’alofa.

Back in late 2014 and early 2015, a gradual eruption in the region created a new small island and disrupted a global tour of the Pacific islands for several days.

There are about 105,000 people in Tonga.


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