The officer says drinking water and food are needed immediately as efforts begin to assess the extent of the damage.
Tonga is calling for “immediate assistance” with the urgent need for fresh water and food as it assesses the damage caused by Saturday’s Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption.
The the volcano erupted in a major eruption on Saturday – he said it was the largest in Pinatubo, Philippines in 1991 – caused a tsunami and covered the Pacific island nation with ash volcanoes.
“Communication continues to decline and the extent of the damage to life and property is unknown today. We know that Tonga needs immediate help to provide its citizens with fresh drinking water and food,” Parliament Speaker Lord Fakafanua said in a statement posted on social media.
The appeal came when experts noticed another eruption in Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai.
The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center said the volcano erupted at 22:10 GMT on Sunday, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it had detected large waves in the area: “This could be another eruption of the Tonga volcano. There is no known large earthquake to create this wave.”
Australia and New Zealand sent surveillance flights on Monday to assess damage to Tongan and said they were coordinating with the United States, France and other countries on the humanitarian response.
Our P3 Orion has been sent to Tongara to assist in the assessment of the damage caused to Tongatapu and the outer islands. It is a significant event and NZ🇳🇿 will do its best to provide its support and assistance. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tonga 🇹🇴
– Nanaia Mahuta (@NanaiaMahuta) January 16, 2022
Australian Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said initial reports suggested there had been no mass casualties and that the airport “appeared to be in relatively good condition” but that there had been “significant damage” to roads and bridges.
The Red Cross has offered its support, and the Pacific Islands Forum said it was ready to help in what it described as a “millennium natural disaster.”
“In the coming hours and days we will have a clearer picture of the situation in Tonga, as well as the rest of the Blue Continent in the Pacific Ocean,” Secretary-General Henry Puna said in a statement.
The impact of Saturday’s eruption was felt across the Pacific, in other island nations like Fiji, where videos shared on social media recorded the explosive sound of the eruption, and in North and South America. A wide cloud of ash is spreading westward towards Australia.