Tonga volcano: Tsunami hits California with waves up to 4ft as island ‘devastated’ – World News

There are fears the tiny nation of Tonga may have been left devastated by the tsunami – nations are struggling to contact officials on the island

The underwater volcano was visible from space

Tonga has suffered significant damage after a tsunami was triggered by an underground volcano eruption, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Humanitarian groups are struggling to establish communications with the pacific island nation with issues with both telephone and internet connections.

An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders on the shores of Tonga as well as several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes.

The eruption was so intense it was heard as “loud thunder sounds” in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials said.

And 4ft tsunami waves have crashed into the California coast.

The moment of a ‘violent’ eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga has been captured from a satellite in space



Internet and phone lines went down at about 6.40pm local time on Saturday, leaving the 105,000 residents on the islands virtually uncontactable.

“The images of the volcanic eruption in close proximity to Tonga are hugely concerning,” Jacinda Ardern said in a statement on Instagram.

“Communication as a result of the eruption has been difficult, but our defence force team and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are working as we speak to establish what’s needed and how we can help,” she said.

The New Zealand foreign ministry said there were no reports of injuries or deaths as yet but communications were limited.

The eruption could be heard thousands of kilometres away



There were no immediate reports of injuries following the tsunami



The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji said it was monitoring the situation and had no updates on damages or casualties.

Tongan churches in New Zealand organised prayers for their families back home.

“We pray God will help our country at this sad moment. We hope everybody is safe…,” Maikeli Atiola, the Secretary of the Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Auckland said, Radio New Zealand reported.

Huge waves crashed into people’s homes



The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades but Saturday’s eruption was so loud
that residents parts of faraway Fiji and New Zealand said they heard it.

Satellite images captured the volcanic eruption on Saturday as the explosion sent plumes of smoke into the air and about 12 miles above the sea level.

Huge waves crashed into homes following the volcano eruption



The sky over Tonga was darkened by the ash.

The eruptions triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, with the United States and Japan urging people on their Pacific
coastlines to stay away from the shores.

Australia issued a marine tsunami warning for the New South Wales coastlines, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, and said
local beaches along the state’s coast have been closed. A tsunami advisory was also issued in New Zealand.

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