At least two people have been killed as a result of a tsunami caused by a submarine volcanic eruption that hit the island group of Tonga on Saturday. This was reported by international news agencies on Tuesday. Total damage and casualties are still unclear, as lines of communication with the Pacific archipelago have been cut: the disaster destroyed a sea cable needed for international contact. Relief planes from New Zealand were also unable to land on Tuesday because of a thick layer of ash on the runway at Tonga airport.
New Zealand (about 2,000 kilometers from Tonga) and Australia (more than 3,200 kilometers) managed to send inspection flights to Tonga on Monday, which has more than 100,000 inhabitants and consists of about 170 different islands, to assess the damage. to be able to make. Defense in New Zealand has now shared the first aerial photos of the archipelago. It shows that several islands and places are buried under a layer of ash.
New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Tuesday that obtaining drinking water “is one of the highest priorities for Tonga at this stage”. The tsunami and volcanic ash clouds are likely to have contaminated the island’s drinking water supplies. In addition to aid planes, New Zealand has also sent naval ships with water and other resources on board, although it could take days to arrive. The country also promised 1 million New Zealand dollars (595,000 euros) in aid money. Australia has also sent naval ships to the archipelago.