After a submarine volcano near Tonga erupted and a large wave struck the island’s kingdom, tsunami warnings were issued in much of the South Pacific.
A huge eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday caused a tsunami in Tonga.
Local media on the island chain reported heavy rains of ash, floods of property, and disruption of telephone and power connections, but the extent of devastation was unknown until late at night.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a 1.2-meter tsunami was observed in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga.
An island business news site reported that police and military convoys had moved Tupou VI in Tonga from a palace near the coast.
He was one of the many inhabitants heading to the hills.
Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a mushroom-rising ash, steam, and gas eruption over the blue Pacific Ocean.
The New Zealand Defense Force has said it is monitoring the situation in Tonga and is ready to assist if requested by the government, but so far no request has been made, according to Radio New Zealand.
An Australian government spokesperson said an initial assessment is underway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to ensure that Australians in Tonga are safe and responsible.
“Tonga is part of our Pacific family and our idea lies throughout the community dealing with the effects of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister are monitoring the situation, and Australia is ready to support Tonga on request,” he said.
Authorities across the Pacific, including Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand, have issued tsunami warnings, warning people to stay away from coastal areas due to strong and unusual currents and possible unpredictable surges.
“People in or near the sea should get out of the water, away from beaches and coastal areas, and away from ports, rivers and estuaries,” the New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency warned.
Hauraki Gulf Weather recorded a 71-centimeter wave on Great Barrier Island near Auckland after the eruption.
The volcano is located about 2000 kilometers northeast of New Zealand.
New Zealand’s MetService said the device detected a pressure surge due to an eruption.
New Zealanders used social media to report that they were able to hear the eruption.
Residents of American Samoa rang church bells throughout the region as local broadcasters issued tsunami warnings and the outdoor siren warning system became unavailable.
At dawn, no damage was reported and the US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center canceled the warning.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, water may be slightly swollen in the coastal areas of Japan, but there is no damage.
According to the Tonga Meteorological Agency, the volcano also erupted on Friday, recording a small tsunami of up to 30 cm.
The volcano erupted intermittently in late December, but the eruption on Friday was about seven times stronger than the previous eruption, Tonga Geological Services said.
There is a report from AP
Underwater Tonga volcano triggers alert
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