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Tonga sends distress signal

2022-01-18T06:48:29.805Z

Satellite phones do not work reliably, islands are said to be covered by ash: New Zealand is sending help after the massive eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai.



Enlarge image

Satellite image shows plumes of smoke after the volcano erupted

Photo: HANDOUT/AFP

So far there has been no contact with the Ha'apai archipelago: Even days after the massive eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai in the Pacific, the extent of the damage and the number of possible victims are still unclear.

This was announced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

After the tsunami triggered by the volcano, there is particular concern about the low-lying islands of Mango and Fonoi.

A distress signal was received from Mango.

"Communication is still the biggest problem, since the Internet and international telephone lines are still out of order," the UN agency said.

Satellite phones are the only reliable means of communicating with the outside world, but they don't always work reliably either.

"Overall, there seems to be considerable damage to the infrastructure around the main island of Tongatapu." Many islands are said to be covered by a layer of ash.

According to the New Zealand government, two deaths have been confirmed so far.

One of the victims is a British woman who was hit by a tidal wave.

There was initially no information about the other dead.

New Zealand wanted to send two ships with relief supplies to Tonga on Tuesday.

A formal request for assistance from Tonga is still pending, but the New Zealand government wants to dispatch the ships HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa as they took three days to reach the affected region, it said.

"The communication problems caused by the outbreak make this disaster relief particularly challenging," said New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

One of the ships is primarily intended to transport urgently needed drinking water.

"Water is a top priority for Tonga at this stage and HMNZS Aotearoa can transport 250,000 liters and produce 70,000 liters per day through a desalination plant," Defense Minister Peeni Henare said.

On Saturday, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai threw a gigantic cloud of ash kilometers high and triggered tsunami waves that even swept onto the coasts of Japan, Alaska and South America.

The volcano is just 40 miles from Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

The Feuerberg lying under the water surface is 1800 meters high and 20 kilometers wide.

The archipelago of Tonga has around 107,000 inhabitants.

kha/dpa

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-01-18

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