Volcanic eruption

Safety at Tonga port being checked for arrival of more humanitarian supplies

Three deaths have been confirmed after Saturday's massive volcanic eruption. There are reports of significant injuries, but no details yet.

UN officials said 84,000 people - more than 80 percent of Tonga's population - had been impacted by tsunami and the ashfall that followed the eruption.

New Zealand Defence Force Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said there were fears for food security, with reports ash was killing crops.

Ash and sea water have also contaminated water supplies.

Man who grew up on now-destroyed Mango Island devastated by loss of relative in tsunami

Mango Island is part of the Ha'apai Island group and was one of the closest to the volcano when it erupted, producing a tsunami the Tongan government says generated waves up to 15 metres high.

Aucklander Mote Pahulu was born on Nomuka Island and grew up on neighbouring Mango Island. 

"We're absolutely devastated. Not only have we lost a relative, a very close relative, but everything else on the little island is gone," he tells Newshub.

"It was a beautiful little island, it was a little paradise."

WHO supports whole-of-UN response to volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga

Support includes acting as a central channel of information in the face of continued telecommunications outages.

The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted at approximately 5:30pm local time on 15 January, spewing forth an ash plume said to be almost 20km high. The eruption, which was the largest Tonga – and potentially the world – has faced in 30 years, could be heard as far away as Australia and New Zealand and caused tsunami alerts to be issued across the Pacific.  

MFAT confirms two deaths after Tonga tsunami

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, which erupted on Saturday, was about 65km north of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa.

There is now a huge clean-up operation in the town, which has been blanketed in thick volcanic dust.

Serious damage has been reported from the west coast of Tongatapu and a state of emergency has been declared.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed two deaths so far, but Fiji-based United Nations (UN) co-ordinator Jonathan Veitch said there were still areas that had not been contacted.

Tonga Met issues tsunami marine warning

The warning was issued as a result of ongoing volcanic eruption reported at Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai.

Tonga Geological Services said satellite images captured the Hunga Volcano erupting at 4:20am (local time), raising the plume to altitude 5-20km above sea level.

“The plume of ash, steam and gas dispersed at a radius of 210km from the volcano over Tongatapu, ‘Eua and Ha’apai group.”

“Smell of sulphur is reported in Tongatapu and ‘Eua and the public is advised to wear masks when commuting. “