Tongans were forced to flee to higher ground on Saturday after the area was hit by its second tsunami in as many days, triggered by a massive volcanic explosion reported in neighbouring countries.
“A 1.2 metre tsunami wave has been observed at Nukualofa,” the Australian Bureau of Meteorology tweeted. The largest tidal surge was 30 cm after the blast on Friday.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted once more on Friday, just hours after the tsunami warning was lifted.
Mere Taufa stated she was at her residence getting ready for supper when the volcano erupted.
“It was huge; the earth shook, and our home shook as well. It came in sporadic bursts. My little brother was certain that bombs were going off nearby “Taufa told the news website Stuff.
“We just knew it was a tsunami right away.” “It’s just water pouring into our house.” Screams could be heard all around you, people pleading for safety and for everyone to go to higher ground.”
A police escort is alleged to have evacuated Tonga’s King Tupou VI from the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa and relocated him to a location far from the shore.
The initial explosion lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash, and smoke several kilometres into the sky. Residents living along the water’s edge were encouraged to move to higher land.
The eruption was so intense, according to officials in Suva, that it was heard as “loud thunder sounds” more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) away in Fiji.
Authorities warned residents to cover their water collection tanks in the event of acidic ash fall.