AIRLINK 69.92 Increased By ▲ 4.72 (7.24%)
BOP 5.46 Decreased By ▼ -0.11 (-1.97%)
CNERGY 4.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-1.32%)
DFML 25.71 Increased By ▲ 1.19 (4.85%)
DGKC 69.85 Decreased By ▼ -0.11 (-0.16%)
FCCL 20.02 Decreased By ▼ -0.28 (-1.38%)
FFBL 30.69 Increased By ▲ 1.58 (5.43%)
FFL 9.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-0.81%)
GGL 10.12 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (1.1%)
HBL 114.90 Increased By ▲ 0.65 (0.57%)
HUBC 132.10 Increased By ▲ 3.00 (2.32%)
HUMNL 6.73 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.3%)
KEL 4.44 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
KOSM 4.93 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.82%)
MLCF 36.45 Decreased By ▼ -0.55 (-1.49%)
OGDC 133.90 Increased By ▲ 1.60 (1.21%)
PAEL 22.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.18%)
PIAA 25.39 Decreased By ▼ -0.50 (-1.93%)
PIBTL 6.61 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.15%)
PPL 113.20 Increased By ▲ 0.35 (0.31%)
PRL 30.12 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (2.41%)
PTC 14.70 Decreased By ▼ -0.54 (-3.54%)
SEARL 57.55 Increased By ▲ 0.52 (0.91%)
SNGP 66.60 Increased By ▲ 0.15 (0.23%)
SSGC 10.99 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.09%)
TELE 8.77 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.34%)
TPLP 11.51 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.62%)
TRG 68.61 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.01%)
UNITY 23.47 Increased By ▲ 0.07 (0.3%)
WTL 1.34 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-2.9%)
BR100 7,394 Increased By 99.2 (1.36%)
BR30 24,121 Increased By 266.7 (1.12%)
KSE100 70,910 Increased By 619.8 (0.88%)
KSE30 23,377 Increased By 205.6 (0.89%)

SYDNEY: Tonga was virtually cut off from the rest of the world Monday after a massive volcanic blast that crippled communications with the Pacific island nation, and experts warned internet connection may not be fully restored for weeks.

It is two days since the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haa'pai volcano exploded, cloaking Tonga in ash, triggering a Pacific-wide tsunami and releasing shock waves that wrapped around the entire Earth.

But still neighbouring countries and international agencies are clambering to try to grasp the scale of the damage, with New Zealand's leader Jacinda Ardern stating Sunday it is believed to be "significant".

Wellington and Canberra scrambled reconnaissance planes in an attempt to get a sense of the damage from the air on Monday, with both also putting C-130 military transport aircraft on standby to drop emergency supplies or to land if runways are deemed operational.

What is known is that the volcanic blast Saturday seriously damaged the ash-covered capital Nuku'alofa and severed an undersea communications cable -- which could take two weeks to restore.

The eruption was recorded around the world and heard as far away as Alaska, triggering a tsunami that flooded Pacific coastlines from Japan to the United States.

Casualty reports awaited from tsunami-hit Tonga with comms largely down

"We know water is an immediate need," Ardern told reporters.

She added New Zealand was relying on satellite phones to communicate with the island nation that is home to some 100,000 people.

The reconnaissance flights would help to advise Tonga's government of the scale of the volcanic and tsunami damage and help to identify aid needs, Ardern added.

The premier, who has spoken to the New Zealand embassy in Tonga, has described how boats and "large boulders" washed ashore north of Nuku'alofa.

Wellington's defence minister said he understood the island nation had managed to restore power in "large parts" of the city.

'We know nothing'

Crippled communications left Tongans outside of the country desperate for news of loved ones.

"I cannot raise my family, there is no communication," Filipo Motulalo, a journalist with Pacific Media Network, told AFP.

"Our home is among those close to the area that was flooded already so we don't know how much damage there is."

Motulalo said many Tongans abroad were worried.

Another 'large eruption' detected at Tonga volcano: monitor

"I think the worst part is the blackout and the fact that we know nothing," he added. Many fretted about elderly relatives coping in volcanic dust-filled air.

Tonga's internet may remain down for two weeks, Southern Cross Cable Network's networks director Dean Veverka told AFP.

"We're getting sketchy information but it looks like the cable has been cut," he said.

"It could take up to two weeks to get it repaired. The nearest cable-laying vessel is in Port Moresby," he added, referring to the Papua New Guinea capital, more than 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) from Tonga.

Southern Cross is assisting Tonga Cable Limited which owns the 872 kilometre cable linking the island nation with Fiji -- and from there to the rest of the world.

Initially it was believed the fault was due to power failure following the powerful eruption.

Tonga was previously isolated for two weeks in 2019 when a ship's anchor cut the cable and a small, locally operated satellite service was set up to allow minimal contact with the outside world.


Comments are closed.