A “Once in a Millennia” Volcanic Outburst Turned Tonga Into a “Moonscape” | Viral News
Ash from an underwater volcano has turned Tonga into “a moonscape,” according to locals.
When the “once in a millennium” eruption of the Hunga Tongas Hunga Haapai volcano released particles that darkened the sky and damaged the water supply, it caused havoc.
According to a report by BBC News, locals claim that the island’s surface now resembles that of the moon due to the accumulation of volcanic ash.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand warned that freshwater is now essential on the island as authorities urged the 105,000 residents to only consume bottled water and use face masks.
This is the first time that New Zealand has dispatched an aircraft to Tonga, where satellite photographs show smoke and volcanic ash rising 19 kilometres (12 miles) above sea level following the eruption.
As a result of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake, experts believe this eruption to be the most severe in decades.
A tsunami of 1.2-meter waves was triggered by the eruption, and it hit residences in Tonga and other South Pacific islands 2,383 kilometres (1,481 miles) northeast of New Zealand.
Residents have been cut off from the rest of the world since Saturday about 1840 local time [0740 GMT] when the vast majority, if not all, of the power, internet, and telephone cables fell down.
Ms Ardern said that certain parts of the island were seeing power restored and some mobile phones were working again.
In the absence of any casualty reports, loved ones of individuals who were unable to be reached have grown increasingly concerned for their well-being.
In a press conference, Ms Ardern said there are no official reports of injuries or deaths because contact has not yet been established with the coastal districts outside of Nuku’alofa and closer to the volcano.
There are dense clouds of volcanic dust covering Nuku’alofa but the rest of the island is calm and stable, she said.
“There are sections of Tonga that we simply don’t know yet… we just haven’t established communication.”
The volcano seldom erupts, but when it does, there can be “many weeks or even years” of “unrest,” according to experts.
On average, the volcano can produce one of these big eruptions every thousand years,” says Professor Shane Cronin of the University of Auckland.
Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’Apai volcano might erupt for several weeks or perhaps years, according to a report.
He added: “We will need assistance in restoring the drinking water supply.” Additionally, the people of Tonga should be on the lookout for additional eruptions and tsunamis and should stay away from low-lying places.
Some flooding was visible in California, and warnings have been issued for other nations as well, including the United States and Japan.
Countries like Australia and New Zealand were also hit by powerful waves.
According to the Met Office, shockwaves were also detected at observation locations in the UK, some 16,000 kilometres (10,000 miles) away from Tonga.
He said the situation in Tonga was “terrible” and that Britain was ready to assist and support its Commonwealth comrade in every way possible.