The violent eruption of a volcano submarine near Tonga, in the South Pacific, caused a tsunami that hit the coasts of this island nation and that has also set off alarms in other countries in the region.
“Waves of about 1.2 meters have been recorded in Nuku’alofa”, the capital of Tonga, with 24,500 inhabitants, the Australian Meteorological Service reported on Twitter. The local authorities of Tonga, with some 71,000 inhabitants, have not reported any victims at the moment, while local media warn that several areas of the country remain incommunicado.
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The submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, located about 65 kilometers north of the Tongan island of Tongatapu, recorded an eruption of about eight minutes at around 5:20 pm and released a huge column of ash for kilometers Tall.
The violent explosion was recorded in images taken by satellites, published by the Meteorological Service of the American island of Hawaii.
About 15 minutes later, the fierce onslaught of the waves hit the houses and buildings located on the first line of the north coast of Tongatapu, according to the videos published on social networks by witnesses, some of whom took refuge on the roof of their houses. .
Another of the recordings shows at least five people, including children, sheltered in a local church just as the water begins to hit the windows of the religious compound.
A driver caught the sudden rise of the waters in his flight, which was destroying walls and fences, while another car tried to avoid being caught by traveling in reverse. the radio station New Zealand reports panic scenes where people try to flee to inland areas.
The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai It already registered an increase in activity on Friday that temporarily triggered another tsunami alert, but that did not translate into rising waters. In the face of the current emergency, the Tongan authorities have asked the entire population to stay away from the beaches and coastlines until 4 pm on Sunday and to use face masks in the face of ash rain.
Unlike tsunamis triggered by earthquakes, where tectonic plates unload their force and a second tsunami is unlikely, the volcano could again register a violent eruption that would create another ferocious tidal wave.
In addition to Tonga, the neighboring island states of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu have also issued a tsunami warning, which threatens the coast of New Zealand, more than 2,300 kilometers away from the volcano, and Australia.
Tsunami waves are expected to remain possible along the coasts of all Vanuatu islands tonight,” the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geological Hazards Department said in a statement confirming the arrival of waves in Port Vila and Litzlitz.
For its part, the New Zealand Emergency Management Agency indicated on Twitter that they expect “strong currents and unusual unpredictable swells” on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands of the oceanic country. The Australian Meteorological Service estimated, after ruling out a tsunami alert for hours, that a large wave could hit coastal areas in the east and southeast of the country, from the state of Queensland to the island of Tasmania. EFE