Tonga Turbulence

Kingdom of Tonga experiences volcanic eruption and giant tsunami

Addison Mark, Public Relations Manager

In the Pacific Ocean lies the Kingdom of Tong that consists of some 170 islands, homes to 100,00 people. On January 15, three of Tonga’s “Friendly Islands”, Nomuka, Mango and Fonoifua, were hit by something the world has not seen in 30 years.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is an underwater volcano that scientists have said to erupt pretty regularly each year. Unfortunately, this eruption occurred sooner than expected and caused a catastrophe to occur on the civilians living on not only Nomuka, Mango and Fonoifua islands, but also the largest island in the Kingdom of Tonga.

The volcanic eruption causde a tsunami nearly 50 feet high to crash down on Tongatapu (the largest island on Tonga). The waves crashed into civilian homes, stores, hospitals, and so much more. Tsunami warnings were sent out to Pacific nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. Parts of New Zealand, Japan and Peru also sent warnings to the United States and Canada’s British Columbia.

The next day, Fiji reported a small tsunami affecting their nation. Santa Cruz, California also reported having been affected with flooding in their city.

A tsunami is not the only thing that has affected the Kingdom of Tonga. Since the top of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai’s crater is partially out of the water, a giant mushroom plume engulfed the kingdom with ash.

Tonga reported there to be at least three known casualties. Unfortunately, there was a second explosion that cut off all communication anyone had with the Kingdom so we are all unsure of what is happening there now.

Thankfully, nearby country Australia sent airplanes filled with supplies and professionals to the islands in order to aid them in their devastating defeat.