Eruption and tsunami: First images reveal the devastation of the Tonga islands

"The first published analyzes show an initial assessment of damage to roads and buildings on nearby inhabited islands, and before-after images of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, with its collapsed caldera and most of the island. now submerged. »

On Tuesday, the first satellite images revealed whole swaths of the Tonga islands covered in ash or ravaged by the tsunami, following the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai underwater volcano on January 15. Three people were killed and "a number" were injured, according to the government, which called the volcano explosion a “unprecedented disaster”.

According to Agence France Presse, this is the largest eruption recorded in decades. It was heard as far away as Alaska, 9000 kilometers away. A massive 30-kilometer-tall mushroom cloud dispersed ash, gas and acid rain across the Pacific region. It was immediately followed by the triggering of a tsunami, which had effects as far as the Japanese and American coasts.

According to the government of Tonga, waves 15 meters high swept over the capital Nuku'alofa. OCHA adds that it was covered with two centimeters of ash and volcanic dust. If the electricity of certain districts and the local telephone connections could be restored there, the international communications remain impossible.

The images shared by the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) reveal the aftermath of the eruption and tsunami on the small island of Nomuka, one of the closest to the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano. On its website, UNOSAT states that "the first analyzes published show an initial assessment of damage to roads and buildings on the neighboring inhabited islands, and before-after images of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, with its collapsed caldera and most of the island now submerged".

On its Twitter account, the Consulate of the Kingdom of Tonga shares the satellite images which reveal the devastated Tonga.

MC (with AFP)

Image credit: Creative Commons / Flickr / Screenshot

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