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Tonga warns of tsunami after submarine volcanic eruption | News

People fled to the highlands during a major volcanic eruption that caused a second tsunami in the area on other days.

The Pacific Ocean nation of Tonga issued a tsunami warning on Saturday after a volcano erupted under the sea, large waves collided on the shore and people moved to the highlands.

There was no news of any immediate injuries or the extent of the damage, as communication with the small nation continued to be a problem. The video posted on social media showed big waves drying up in coastal areas, revolving around houses and buildings.

The Tongan Meteorological Service said the tsunami warning was in effect throughout Tonga.

The New Zealand military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to help if requested.

The Islands Business news site reported that a convoy of police and soldiers evacuated King Tupou VI of Tonga from a palace near the coast. He was among the many neighbors who went to the highlands.

The last eruption of the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano occurred just hours after Friday’s tsunami warning was lifted. The maximum tsunami wave recorded after Friday’s explosion was 30 centimeters.

A Twitter user named Dr. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing the waves crashing ashore.

“You can literally hear the eruption of the volcano, the sound is quite violent,” he wrote in a later message: “It rained ashes and small stones, darkness covered the sky.”

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists had seen massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after the eruption began early on Friday.

The site said satellite imagery showed a 5 km (3 mile) wide ash, steam and gas plume in the air for about 20 km (up to 12 miles).

The eruption was so intense that it was heard as a “loud thunderous sound” more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) away from Fiji, Suva officials said. Local authorities in Fiji also warned, warning people of the strong currents and dangerous waves to avoid the coast.

Over 2,300 km (1,400 miles) in New Zealand, officials reported a storm surge.

The National Emergency Management Agency said that in some parts of New Zealand “strong and unusual currents and an unexpected surge can be expected after a major volcanic eruption on the coast”.

On Saturday night, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the threat to American Samoa had been overcome, although small sea tides could continue.

The volcano is located 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island that disrupted international air travel to the Pacific Ocean archipelago for several days. Tonga is home to about 105,000 people.




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