The south pacific kingdom of Tonga has been hit by a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami, causing catastrophic damage, with homes destroyed and many communities covered in a thick layer of ash.
The Tongan government says the country has been hit by an “unprecedented disaster”.
Communications with Tonga have been severely disrupted with satellite images and aerial photographs showing the scale of the destruction.
The single undersea cable connecting Tonga to the outside world was also severed in the eruption.
The port in the capital, Nuku’alofa on the main island of Tongatapu, has been severely damaged, with many buildings near the waterfront completely flattened.
Call for Aid
The government of Tonga says that drinking water has become a priority due to the ash fall and tsunami from the eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the Pacific kingdom of Tonga.
The government, in a statement on Saturday, said that the situation had affected almost every person in the area.
The government released its second update since the eruption and said an estimated 84 per cent of its about 105,000 people had been affected across all of its islands.
It said drinking water and food supplies were a priority, with almost 60,000 litres of water distributed as part of relief efforts so far.
“Although there has been no further volcanic activity, challenges to sea transportation remain as fallout on the surface of the ocean is causing damage to the vessels,” the statement said.
At least 62 people had been relocated from the island of Mango to Nomuka after losing their homes and all of their personal belongings.
“It is envisaged that these displaced persons will be relocated to Tongatapu given the current food and water shortages on Nomuka,” it added.
A field hospital was set up on Nomuka as the health centre was washed away, however, the country’s main hospital remained open.
The statement indicated that emergency relief supplies were on the way to outer islands but communication remained “an acute challenge”.
The death toll remained at three – two Tongans and a British national.
Aid supplies and more than 20 million U.S. dollars have been committed to supporting Tonga from nations across the world.
“His Majesty’s Government is deeply appreciative to the International community for their generous and timely assistance in response to this unprecedented event,” the statement said.