Images from Maxar Technologies
Our dear friends in the Pacific have it pretty rough now, following the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption on Saturday.
The eruption could be seen from space and caused a 15-metre tsunami that spread across Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, sending out tsunami warnings as far away as Australia. Satellite imagery reveals just how bad the eruption was, with every single home wiped out on Mongo island, and only two remaining on the neighbouring island of Fonoifua.
At the time of writing, three people have been confirmed dead but communications to the island have been limited due to the damage to the undersea internet cables and the enormous ash cloud that looms over the island. To make matters worse, there are fears among aid workers about the potential of a Covid outbreak in Tonga, which has only had one case during the entire pandemic.
Australia and New Zealand have already dispatched urgent aid, temporary shelter and clean drinking water in naval vessels, but will have to await quarantine to make sure help doesn’t bring any more problems for Tonga. Local Red Cross aid workers are the best on the ground in these situations, as they are run by local people who understand how to direct funds and help to where it is needed most. Donate to the Red Cross support crews here.