Tonga islands cut off from the world: "I think the worst thing is the cut and the fact that we don't know anything"

“The roads and some houses suffered quite significant damage. […] One of the good news […] is that the airport suffered no significant damage. This is very, very important because as soon as the ash cloud clears we will be able to send humanitarian flights to Tonga. »

On Monday, families were still without news of their loved ones following the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, an underwater volcano in the Tonga Islands, the eruption of which caused a tsunami in the Pacific. The cataclysm severed a cable essential to telephone and internet communications. As for the ash cloud, it prevents planes from landing to help the populations.

Filipo Motulalo, a Tongan journalist who works in New Zealand for Pacific Media Network, laments the fact that no communication is possible.

“I think the worst thing is the cut and the fact that we don't know anything. There is no communication. Our house is one of those close to the area that has already been flooded, so we don't know what the damage is. »

New Zealand and Australia sent military reconnaissance planes on Monday. They also have military transport planes ready to take off for Tonga once the ash cloud has dissipated to parachute aid there, or even land there if the state of the runways allows it.

The information coming from this country comes from rare satellite phones, but according to Agence France Presse, the extent of the damage was still largely unknown on Monday.

Australia's Minister for International Development, Zed Seselja, spoke about the situation there.

“The roads and some houses suffered quite significant damage. […] One of the good news […] is that the airport suffered no significant damage. This is very, very important because as soon as the ash cloud clears we will be able to send humanitarian flights to Tonga. »

Katie Greenwood, of the International Federation of the Red Cross, believes that "the scale of devastation could be immense, especially for the most isolated islands".

MC (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Michal Durinik

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