May 14, 2022 4:15 pm

“It was a massive explosion”: the stories of the inhabitants of Tonga after the eruption of the volcano

NUKUALOFA, Tonga — Mere Taufa, a Tongan resident, was cooking dinner when the disaster struck. “The ground shook, the whole house was shaken. It came in waves. My younger brother believed that bombs were exploding near our house.”, told the Stuff news site. That was not all. A few minutes later, the woman watched in amazement as the water invaded her home in Nukuʻalofa and knocked down her neighbor’s wall. The island country, with 105,000 inhabitants, has been in an emergency since the explosion of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano.

Geologists on the site. Oversighting Hunga Ha’apai in the forefront and Hunga Tonga ‘o the left. The plumes up to 20km above sea level. Crédito : Facebook Tonga Geological Services, Government of Tonga.Facebook Tonga Geological Services, Government of Tonga.

The eruption, which lasted more than eight minutes, was very loud and caught the Tongans off guard. Taufa said that his brother even thought they were bombs. “My first instinct was to take cover under the tableI grabbed my little sister and yelled at my parents and others in the house to do the same.” “It was a massive explosion,” he added.

Desperate cries for help, water washing away everything in its path and deafening explosions, is what some Tongans experienced after the eruption and subsequent tsunami. Tevita Sailosi, also a resident of Nukuʻalofa, who told the news portal Stuff that She had to carry her grandmother in her arms to climb with her to the roof of her house. Hearing the rumbling, he knew immediately that the volcano had erupted, he said.

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha'apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku'alofa. - Frightened Tongans fled to higher ground on January 15, 2022 after the latest eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano -- heard in neighbouring countries -- triggered tsunami warnings across the South Pacific. (Photo by Mary Lyn FONUA / AFP)
(FILES) This file photo taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha’apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. – Frightened Tongans fled to higher ground on January 15, 2022 after the latest eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano — heard in neighbouring countries — triggered tsunami warnings across the South Pacific. (Photo by Mary Lyn FONUA / AFP)MARY LYN FONUA – AFP

“We are still in shock, to be honest. First we heard the explosion and then the water was in our house,” said Sailosi. After it all happened, they heard cries asking for help and then “also we heard people singing, that lifted our spirits a bit”.

“We just hope everyone is okay,” Tevita Sailosi said.

Jese Tuisinu, a television reporter for Fiji One, posted a video and Twitter showing large waves reaching the shore, with people trying to flee in their cars. “It’s literally dark in parts of Tonga and people are rushing to safety after the eruption,” he said. And that early darkness was reported by different users.

Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau, who presents himself on Twitter as the project coordinator for the construction of the Tonga Parliament building, uploaded shocking images to the social network. “Raining ashes and small pebbles. Darkness covering the sky,” he wrote, accompanying a photo of an ash-covered car windshield.

Anguish was also experienced by those who could not contact their relatives. That is the case for Aminiasi Manu, who lives in Pakuranga, Auckland. He tried for hours before he was able to contact his 89-year-old mother and sister., who managed to leave the village to the east of the island where they live to reach higher ground. “A part of me is amazed at what happened and the other part is scared. There’s not a lot of high ground in Tonga, there’s no mountains.” told NZ Time.

Dr. Frank Ross lives in Suva, Fiji, about 800 kilometers from Tonga. He told the New Zealand publication NZ Time that there was a “constant coming and going of explosions”. “The house was shaking, and I thought it was the eruption,” Ross said.

Different countries issued warnings about possible tsunamis. This was the case in Japan, American Samoa, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Chile. So far no fatalities have been reported from the eruption and subsequent tsunami in the Pacific Ocean.



Reference-www.lanacion.com.ar

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