The United Nations reported on Monday that a distress beacon was detected on lowland Tonga after a massive volcanic eruption on Saturday, causing a tsunami that killed at least two people.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that “active distress beacons were detected in mangoes,” adding that the Tongan Navy was deployed to the island on Sunday.
Police in Tonga said the number of casualties confirmed by the New Zealand High Commissioner was two, but the true range of casualties remains unknown due to the loss of communications in the island nations of the South Pacific.
“It is too early to fully assess the impact on remote coastal areas of Tongatapu and further distant areas, including remote islands, but damage to northern Tongatapu, pollution of drinking water sources and crops, and consequent safety. Concerns remain about the need for a clean water supply, “OCHA said. statement..
The identities of the two dead have not been revealed. Initially reported, a 50-year-old British female, Angela Glover, died in the tsunami after trying to save her dog from the waves.
OCHA has expressed concern about mangoes and another lowland island, Phonoi, as they have had no contact with the population so far. The population is 36 and 69, respectively. Surveillance revealed that the entire mango village was destroyed.
Damage has also been reported from the small islands of Tonga, Phonoifua, Niniva and Nomka.
According to OCHA, satellite phones are the only means of communication with the outside world in Tonga and are not always reliable. On the main island of Tongatapu, some local telephone systems have been restored as well as electricity in some areas, but internet services remain down.
OCHA claimed that surveillance flights conducted by the Australian and New Zealand governments confirmed “serious property damage” from the eruption and reported “extensive damage” on the western beaches of Tongatapu Island.
It said that some resorts and houses on Tongatapu were destroyed or severely damaged by the eruption and subsequent ash fall.
Fortunately, no serious damage has been reported at Tongatapu’s major Hua Motu airport, OCHA said, and the situation on the main island is “calm and stable.”
The eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai volcano on Saturday caused a tsunami and flooded part of Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. The effects of the massive eruption were felt far from Peru, the United States, and even Japan. Tsunami warnings and evacuation orders have been issued in many Pacific countries.
Two people were drowned on the beach in northern Peru due to the high waves caused by the tsunami.
Reuters contributed to this report.