Catastrophe: The volcanic eruption in Tonga was “500 times more powerful than Hiroshima”
A NASA scientist noted that it was “the largest eruption in recent decades, recorded as far as Alaska, 9,000 kilometers away.”
19/01/2022 – 21,06hs
The Tongan government called the disaster “unprecedented.”, and stated that waves up to 15 meters of height destroyed all the houses in some islands.
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano, which devastated the Tonga archipelago last Saturday and reverberated in the Pacific Ocean, had an intensity “500 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.” This was estimated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
James Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, explained that it was “the largest eruption in decades, recorded as far as Alaska, 9,000 kilometers away”.
The government of Tonga revealed that it is an “unprecedented” disaster
The smoke raised by the explosion from the mouth of the volcano reached a height of 30 kilometers and poured gas, acid rain and ash on the 170 islands of the archipelago, which were almost completely covered. This was reported by NASA in the last hours.
This Wednesday they managed to clear the main runway of the Tonga international airport, which remained buried in a layer of ash about ten centimeters.
International aid may arrive
Jonathan Veitch, in charge of coordinating United Nations operations, announced that the runway “is operational again” and that this Thursday the first flights with help from Australia and New Zealand will be able to arrive.
In Australia they are organizing boats with rescue teams, clean water and a desalination unit capable of supplying 70,000 liters per day, and from China they announced the shipment of essential items.
Four days after the eruption of the volcano and the subsequent tsunami, the situation remains dramatic with drinking water supplies severely compromised and food stocks at risk of being insufficient.
The volcano’s eruption was “500 times stronger than the Hiroshima atomic bomb”; according to NASA
The entire population, more than 100,000 people, is in a state of need.
“The water supplies of the Tonga Islands have been severely contaminated with ash and salt water,” warned Katie Greenwood of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, adding that there is “a high risk of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.
With help from abroad and humanitarian personnel, concern is growing that the coronavirus will reach the archipelago, which has not registered any cases of contagion so far.
For the time being, Tonga remains isolated and the American cable company SubCom assured that “it will take at least a month to repair the submarine communications cable that guarantees internet connection.”
The provisional balance in the archipelago is three dead and some wounded.