On the 15th of January, the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’appai volcano in Tongo exploded devastating the surrounding islands. The extent of the shockwave is yet unclear as the communication systems are down.
Tonga is made of about 170 islands, many uninhabited, only 2,000 miles east of Australia. The volcano is located 40 miles away from the capital. The eruption came after some movement a few weeks ago that was deemed unimportant. The eruption is the biggest anywhere on the planet for the last 30 years. The two islands of Hunga-Tonga and Hunga-Ha’appai are connected by the volcano. Only two hours before the eruption the island was covered by water. The violence of the event is still to be assessed but it is probably due to the fact that as the molten magma was forced up at staggering speeds, it collided with cold water triggering a chemical reaction that aggravated the explosion.
A tsunami followed sending giant waves around the globe. They are much more destructive than normal waves. The waves sent out by the explosion were particularly great. The islands have been completely covered in a layer of ash so thick the islands are virtually indistinguishable. Communication is impossible due to the damage of undersea cables which is why people are worried there could be more fatalities than the 2 already reported, one of an elderly man and the other of a British woman. New Zealand and Australia are desperately trying to send aid however the airports are out of order which is why it is even harder to reach. The government of Tonga has described this as an ‘unprecedented disaster’. The on the scene situation is still not fully understood but one thing is clear. The country of tonga will never be the same.