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Tonga - Volcano eruption and tsunami, update (DG ECHO, GDACS, UN OCHA, media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 17 January 2022)

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  • After the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano (approximately 60 km north of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga) on 15 January, tsunami waves affected several countries of the Pacific Ocean, particularly Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, USA, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
  • In addition, a huge amount of ashfall emitted by the volcano has been recorded in Tonga (particularly in Tongatapu Island) and across the islands of Vatoa and Ono-i-Lau in Fiji. The activity of the volcano is still ongoing.
  • According to media reports, two people have died in northern Peru due to unusually high waves. UN OCHA reports damage to buildings and infrastructure around Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga that was affected by a tsunami wave of 1.2 metres.
  • Since the damage assessment is still ongoing, the exact needs and the impact on infrastructure and population are still unclear. Phone connections and electricity were down after the eruption, but according to recent reports, the power has been already restored. Nevertheless, the communication with the island remains difficult.
  • DG ECHO is closely monitoring the situation.