UN worries over reports of tsunami and ash affecting Tonga

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has expressed concern by the reports of a tsunami and ash affecting Tonga, as well as of resulting tsunami warnings that have been issued in other countries.

In a statement released by the UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq on Saturday, Guterres said UN offices in Pacific are closely monitoring the situation and are on standby to provide support if requested, while grateful to countries that have already offered their support.

Meanwhile, Tsunami waves caused by an undersea volcano flooded the Pacific Island country of Tonga, where entire towns have been inundated with water and scientists warn the main island could be blanketed in volcanic ash.

According to videos shared on social media after the eruption showed people running for higher ground as the one metre high floods hit coastal areas and made their way farther inland while the sky darkened with ash.

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Sunday that contact had not been established with coastal areas beyond the capital, Nuku’alofa which covered in thick plumes of volcanic dust but otherwise conditions are calm and stable.

“We have not yet received news from other coastal areas. The main undersea communications cable was affected, likely due to loss of power. Power was being restored in some areas on the islands and local mobile phones were slowly starting to work”, she added.

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