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Three of Tonga's smaller islands badly damaged by tsunami

Tonga Volcano Eruption
Posted at 2:30 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 17:30:45-05

SYDNEY (AP) — Three of Tonga's smaller islands have suffered serious damage from tsunami waves, officials and the Red Cross said, as a wider picture begins to emerge of the destruction caused by the eruption of an undersea volcano near the Pacific archipelago nation.

Communications have been down throughout Tonga since the eruption on Saturday, but a ship made it to the outlying islands of Nomuka, Mango and Fonoifua on Wednesday, and reported back that few homes remain standing after settlements were hit with 15-meter (49 feet) -high waves, said Katie Greenwood, the head of delegation in the Pacific for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which had two people aboard the vessel to help assess the damage.

On Tuesday, government officials said at least three people had died due to the eruption and resulting tsunami, including a 65-year-old female from Mango Island, a 49-year-old male from Nomuka Island, and a British woman who was in the country at the time of the eruption.

The ash had contaminated the drinking water, so New Zealand flew water and other supplies to Tonga on Tuesday, including 66,000 gallons of water.