On Monday, to assess the damage in tsunami-hit Tonga, Australia, and New Zealand dispatched surveillance flights. The eruption of an underwater volcano triggered a tsunami and blanketed the Pacific island with ash, cutting off the phone and internet lunes for the entire island.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison extended support for Tonga as soon as possible. However, the relief efforts were hampered due to the volcanic ash. She said, “There’s been a lot of challenges there with the ash cloud and the disruption to communications and so we are working together to get as much support to Tonga as we possibly can”.
Zed Seselja, Australia’s Minister said that reports suggest no mass casualties have been reported and the airport “appears to be in relatively good condition”. However, there is “significant damage” to roads and bridges.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the Tsunami had a significant impact on the infrastructure.
Satellite images show traces of outlying islands are submerged in water. New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin said, “this is an eruption best witnessed from space, the large and explosive lateral spread of the eruption suggests that it was probably the biggest one since the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo”.