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New Zealand warns of disruption in Tonga's communications system following volcanic eruptions

ANI | Updated: Jan 19, 2022 19:53 IST


Wellington [New Zealand], January 19 (ANI): New Zealand's Foreign Ministry has affirmed that Tonga's communication systems remain severely limited after damage to a key undersea cable cut international and inter-island calls following the volcanic eruption.
Repairs are not expected to begin until February 1, and it may take a further two weeks after that to restore the cable, according to a company assisting with the work, according to CNN.
Further, the New Zealand Foreign Ministry stated that an international mobile network provider has set up an interim system on Tongatapu using a satellite dish, which could restore 2G connections.
However, the above arrangement "will be limited and patchy," as per New Zealand Foreign Minister.
Further, many Tongans living outside the country now face a daunting wait to reconnect with loved ones at home, as rescue workers try to salvage the underwater cable.
On the other hand, New Zealand's Foreign Ministery on Tuesday warned of further volcano eruptions and tsunami risk in Pacific following Tonga disaster.
New Zealand foreign ministry further said that most likely scenario is for ongoing eruptions in the next several days to weeks, with ongoing tsunami risk to Tonga and New Zealand, according to CNN.
The tsunami risk estimation was based on modeling by GNS Science, a New Zealand geological research institute.
Meanwhile, in its first official update since Saturday's eruption of the underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano, Tonga's government on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of three people and several other injuries, and outlined the scale of destruction to communities.
Tongan Prime Minster Siaosi Sovaleni said all houses on the island of Mango, where 36 people live, were destroyed.
"Only two houses remain on Fonoifua island, and extensive damage was reported on Nomuka island, home to 239 people," he said.
Further, United Nations spokesperson said an initial assessment by Tongan authorities found 100 houses were damaged and 50 destroyed on Tongatapu, the country's main island, home to the majority of the population. No evacuation centers are open on the main island, and people who were displaced are mostly staying with extended families.
The first details of the devastation emerged on Tuesday after Tonga's Pacific neighbors, Australia and New Zealand, made reconnaissance flights to the archipelago -- a three- to five-hour journey, as mentioned by CNN.
Photos show entire island communities that were once lush and green, now blanketed by thick, gray ash. Many homes appear damaged or completely destroyed. (ANI)

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