Tonga In Dire Situation After Volcano Eruption

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

On Jan. 14, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic island erupted. This volcanic island lies on an uninhabited portion of the archipelago that belongs to the Pacific Island nation of Tonga.

The volcanic eruption heralded as one of the largest in the world since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 also caused mass tsunamis throughout the world. 

After ash clouds exploded 12 miles into the atmosphere, a four-foot-tall tsunami pounded the capital of Tonga, Nuku’alofa. Waves of varying sizes hit other Pacific countries such as Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Japan.

The waves reached as far as the Americas, resulting in a four-foot wave hitting California and a seven-foot wave hitting Peru, resulting in the death of two civilians.

Aside from these two civilians, the tsunami injured two American men and a woman after sweeping them out to sea, caused an injury to a person in Japan after falling, killed three Tongans and caused an undisclosed amount of Tongans to go missing.

Countries are currently offering assistance to the Pacific nation. New Zealand has stated that $500,000 New Zealand dollars will be donated to the cause, and the Singapore Red Cross Society has pledged $50,000 to help the effort; they are also organizing a fundraiser for the country.