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Tonga and Pacific Ocean | Volcanic eruption and tsunami –DG ECHO Daily Map | 17/01/2022

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The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano started erupting on 20 December 2021.

On 13 January 2022, a new intense explosive phase began, leading to a large eruption on 15 January at 4.27 UTC (17.27 local time), which triggered tsunami waves that have been reported in several countries of the Pacific Ocean, particularly Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, USA, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

The eruption generated an ash plume 19.2 km high, and the ashfall reached Tonga (particularly Tongatapu Island) and the islands of Vatoa and Ono-i-Lau in Fiji. The activity of the volcano is still ongoing.

As of 17 January, two people are reportedly missing in Tonga, although the estimation of casualties or damage is not yet detailed, as communication routes have been disrupted. Two fatalities occurred in Peru, while in Japan, national authorities reported several evacuations and two injured people.

The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service EMSR558 was activated on 15 January for Nukuʻalofa and Lifuka Islands of Tonga.