Tonga confirms 2 deaths after volcanic eruption: Japan

Kyodo News

Posted at Jan 18 2022 02:39 PM

A satellite image shows ash covered homes and buildings after the main eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, Jan. 18, 2022. Satellite Image/2022 Maxar Technologies/Handout/Reuters
A satellite image shows ash covered homes and buildings after the main eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, Jan. 18, 2022. Satellite Image/2022 Maxar Technologies/Handout/Reuters

TOKYO — Tonga has confirmed at least 2 people were killed in an undersea volcanic eruption off the South Pacific island nation that sent tsunami waves across the Pacific, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday.

It is not immediately known whether a British woman whose body, according to British media, was found after she was swept away by Saturday's tsunami is among the victims confirmed by the Tongan government.

Local authorities are close to determining the scale of damage caused by the disaster on Tongatapu island, home to the country's capital Nuku'alofa, Hayashi told a press conference.

Citing the Tongan government, Hayashi said dozens of houses collapsed or were partly destroyed.

Conditions on most of Tonga's remote islands are not known since communication cables have been broken, prompting Tongan navy ships to head for the areas, Hayashi said.

No loss of life or injuries have been reported among the about 40 Japanese nationals living in Tonga, according to Hayashi.

Tsunami waves of around 1 meter hit parts of Japan before its weather agency issued a tsunami warning and advisory early Sunday morning.

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