A tsunami hits the coast of Tonga after the eruption of a volcano

The inhabitants of the Tonga islands fled this Saturday to the highlands in the face of the tsunami caused by a new eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which was heard hundreds of kilometers away..

“A tsunami of 1.20 meters was observed in Nuku’alofa”, the capital of the small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, announced the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

“It was a massive explosion,” one resident, Mere Taufa, told the news site Stuff, who was at home preparing dinner when she heard the eruption.

The ground shook, the whole house was shaken. It came in waves. My younger brother believed that bombs were exploding near our house“he counted.

A few minutes later, the water invaded his house and he saw the wall of a neighboring house fall. “We knew immediately that it was a tsunami, with the water that gushed into the house. Screams were heard everywhere, and everyone began to flee towards the heights“, he stated, according to the AFP news agency.

The Tonga King Tupou VI was evacuated from the royal palace in Nuku’alofa and taken to a villa far from the coast.

The eruption lasted eight minutes, and was so strong it was heard “like distant thunder” in the Fiji Islands, more than 800 km away, Fiji officials said.

They also warned residents to cover water reservoirs to protect them from rain or acid ash.

Victorina Kioa of the Tonga Public Service Commission called on people to “stay away from all threatened locations, i.e. beaches, reefs and all flat shorelines“.

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