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Tsunami warning in Tonga as waves crash into homes following earthquake

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Other social media users posted footage showing the royal palace north of the capital being flooded.

Local journalist Marie Funua told New Zealand’s 1News that the country had gone through a “very frightening hour” after a series of “huge eruptions” on the volcanic island 65 kilometers away.

Ms. Funua described seeing this long white wave coming from the horizon.

“After about three waves, it passed the road and into our garden, our car was heading towards the front center.

“The waves kept coming,” she said.

She was concerned that the waves were heading towards a low-lying settlement housing “thousands of people” on a narrow peninsula.

But she said warnings in recent days, including from police with loudspeakers, kept people out of the water.

While the volcano’s recent activity led to a marine tsunami warning on Friday, the eruption on Saturday “looks much bigger” and waves appeared to hit the central business district, tsunami expert Andrew Gissing said.

“There are hotels, lots of shops nearby and restaurants right by the water,” he said. So there are certainly concerns. The main thing is that the volcano is active, and there may be more eruptions. ”

An Australian government spokesperson said Tonga was “part of our Pacific family and our thoughts are with the entire community to deal with the impact of the volcanic eruption and tsunami.”

“The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister are monitoring the situation and Australia stands ready to provide support to Tonga if requested to do so. Initial assessments are still ongoing and DFAT is working to ensure Australians in Tonga are safe and accountable.”

The scale of the undersea eruption was captured in dramatic satellite images, while spikes in atmospheric pressure were detected in Australia and New Zealand likely due to the gravitational wave from the eruption.

Fiji residents have also reported being able to hear and feel the eruption of the volcano, with the country issuing a warning warning to residents of low-lying areas to stay out of the water and away from shore.

New Zealand has issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands, warning of “strong, unusual currents and sudden unexpected shore surges”.

The United States has also issued a tsunami warning for American Samoa.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said “we are closely monitoring observations across the South Pacific” to see what will happen with the waves produced so far, and any other volcanic activity.

Radio New Zealand reported that this comes after the volcano itself erupted on Friday, sending ash, steam and gas up 20 kilometers into the air.

The volcano is located about 30 kilometers southeast of the island of Fonuafo’ou in Tonga. It was erupting intermittently in late December.

Radio New Zealand earlier reported that Tonga’s geological services chief Taniela Kula said the eruption had a radius of 260 km.

Cola previously told RNZ that it was about seven times stronger than the last eruption on Dec. 20 last year and continues to grow.

with Stuff NZ

Sources

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2/ https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/footage-shows-waves-crashing-into-homes-as-tsunami-warning-sounds-in-tonga-20220115-p59ohh.html

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