Tonga was hit by a 1.2 meter tsunami shortly after the eruption. A warning has been issued for island states in the wider area. Flooding has already been reported in Hawaii, 5,000 kilometers away. A tsunami warning also applies to the west coast of America, although no tidal waves are expected here.
The eruption lasted eight minutes. Residents of Tonga said several bombs exploded nearby. The eruption could be heard even in Fiji 800 kilometers away. It sounded like a series of violent claps of thunder.
“It was huge. Our house started shaking. A few minutes later, the house was filled with water. A neighbour’s wall had collapsed,” said a Tonga resident. “You heard people screaming everywhere. Everyone wanted to go to higher areas.
After the eruption, the King of Tonga, Tupou VI, was removed from his palace and taken to safety. Most of the other inhabitants of the coastal areas also moved further inland. As far as is known, no casualties have yet been reported.
The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano also experienced a powerful eruption on Friday. Then a small tsunami with waves up to 30 centimeters occurred.
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