Tonga has been warned by aid agencies that it is now facing food and water shortages. This follows a catastrophic volcanic eruption which caused a 50ft tsunami.

The Red Cross today stated that water which Tens of Thousand of People depend on for drinking has been polluted. Tonga’s parliament speaker also said that “all agricultural” on the Islands has been demolished.

Tongan community members abroad shared images of families via Facebook. It gave a glimpse at the extent of devastation with houses reduced to rubble, fallen tree, crack roads, sidewalks and everything covered in greyash. 

As work nears completion on clearing the runway from ash, aid flights to Australia and New Zealand are expected to begin landing at Tonga’s main airport beginning Thursday. Naval vessels will also be arriving to provide water by Friday.

Tonga insists that aid must be “contactless” due to the possibility of Covid being introduced to the area. This is a problem which complicates efforts. Tonga has not been affected by the pandemic.

Katie Greenwood (head of the Pacific delegation for the Red Cross) stated that “they really don’t want to trade one disaster for another.” 

A tsunami warning system went down in other areas after an underground internet cable cut and severed all communication between the islands.

Pictures have emerged on social media showing the scale of the devastation in Tonga following the tsunami. The island nation is facing imminent water and food shortages after crops and drinking sources were inundated with salt water and ash from a devastating volcanic explosion which triggered a 50ft tsunami, aid agencies have warned

Social media has seen photos showing the extent of Tonga’s destruction following the tsunami. After the devastating volcanic explosion that triggered a tsunami of 50ft, salt water and ash water inundated crops and drinking water sources, Tonga is now facing food and water shortages. Aid agencies warned.

A man surveys the scene of devastation with debris strewn across the road in Tonga in the wake of the tsunami. Water which tens of thousands of people rely on to drink has been polluted, the Red Cross said today, as Tonga's parliamentary speaker added that 'all agriculture' on the islands has also been destroyed

Man looks out at debris and destruction that has been left on the Tonga roads following the tsunami. The tsunami has polluted water, which is essential for tens to thousands of people, according to the Red Cross. Today’s Tonga parliamentary speaker also stated that “all agricultural land on the islands” has been lost.

Wasteland: The coastline of the tropical paradise has been flattened in some areas with palm trees and buildings swept away

In some places, the coast of the tropical paradise was flattened by palm trees and buildings being swept away.

As well as being pounded by a tsunami, the island was coated with a thick layer of volcanic dust

The island also suffered a strong tsunami and was covered with thick layers of volcanic dust.

Trees were torn down, cars crushed and houses swept away by the force of the tsunami. Pictures are slowly emerging on social media showing the scale of destruction

Many trees were chopped down and cars destroyed, while houses were swept away in the tsunami. Social media is slowly showing pictures that show the extent of the destruction. 

Wasteland: The normally lush and verdant waterfront was flattened by the tsunami which struck after a massive volcanic eruption

It was a wasteland. The otherwise lush, green waterfront was destroyed by the tsunami that struck following a huge volcanic eruption. 

Pictured: Trees uprooted by the force of the tsunami that hit Tonga The undersea telecommunications cable connecting Tonga to the rest of the world that was damaged by a volcano eruption will take at least a month to fix, its owner said on Wednesday, with the delay likely hampering disaster recovery efforts

Pictured: Tonga tsunami leaves trees bare. The owner of an undersea telecom cable that connects Tonga with the rest of world said Wednesday that it will take about a month for the damaged sub-sea cable to transmit information to Tonga. This delay could hinder disaster recovery efforts.

Two New Zealand navy vessels will arrive in Tonga on Friday carrying critical water supplies for the Pacific island nation reeling from a volcanic eruption and tsunami and largely cut off from the outside world

Tonga will receive two vessels from New Zealand on Friday that carry water supplies. They are critical in providing essential water for Tonga, which is still recovering from tsunami-induced volcanic eruptions.

Alistair Coldrick, a Briton who runs a tourist company on the Vava’u islands which sit around 160miles from the Hunga-Tonga volcano, told Sky News that no warning was sent despite the eruption triggering a 50ft tsunami which devastated some islands – destroying all buildings on one and leaving just two standing on another.

He said that despite the blackout communication, most people heard the explosion – which was what he called a bomb – and started heading towards high ground as they realized that something catastrophic had occurred.

He said people in Vava’u have been living in ‘fearful limbo’ since the eruption because there has been no contact with the other islands, meaning no updates on the extent of the damage or number of people killed.

SubCom, an American company that manages the cable undersea from Fiji and Tonga has stated it would take at least four weeks to repair the line. 

There will be no updates to the island from outside the world during this time. Yesterday, the Tongan government dispatched its first message. It described the tragedy as unprecedented and said that it caused severe damage to its outlying islands.

The brief statement said that at least three people have been killed and ‘a number’ injured, though stressed that information-gathering is still at a preliminary stage and more-detailed assessments are underway.

The worst-hit islands were Mango where all buildings have been destroyed, and Fonoifua where only two structures are left standing. The evacuation of both these islands is underway.

Nomuka has suffered severe damage, and it is now being evacuated. However, an update stated that west areas of Tongatapu’s and ‘Eua’s main islands have also been affected.

Hundreds of homes in Tonga's smaller outer islands have been destroyed, with at least three dead, after Saturday's huge eruption triggered tsunami waves that rolled over the islands, home to 105,000 people

Many homes on Tonga’s small outer islands were damaged by tsunami waves. The wave that was triggered Saturday’s eruption, which caused the tsunami to sweep over these islands (homes of 105,000) and left at least three victims.

The Red Cross said its teams in Tonga had confirmed that salt water from the tsunami and volcanic ash were polluting the drinking water of tens of thousands of people.

Red Cross stated that its Tonga teams had found evidence of saltwater from volcanic ash and tsunami contaminating the water supply of many thousands.

Tongan communities abroad have posted images from families on Facebook, giving a glimpse of the devastation, with homes reduced to rubble, fallen trees, cracked roads and sidewalks and everything coated in grey ash

Tongan families from abroad posted photos of their loved ones on Facebook. This gives a glimpse at the destruction, including homes that have been reduced to rubble and fallen trees and cracked streets and sidewalks, and all covered in grey Ash.

Ms. Greenwood was onboard a Red Cross ship on Tuesday that went to Mango and Fonoifua. They warned of the ‘deadly consequences’ that could result from being hit by tsunami.

She added that ‘Access to safe drinking water must be a priority immediately’ because there is an increasing risk of developing diseases like cholera or diarrhoea.

At the same time, Fatafehi Fakafanua – a Tongan politician, parliamentary speaker and Lord of the Realm – told the Pacific News Network that ‘all agriculture’ on the islands has been destroyed. 

He stated that besides the water in Tonga, there is a possibility of a food crisis.

New Zealand’s Foreign Ministry said Tonga approved Tonga’s arrival of the Aotearoa- and Wellington-sized ships in the COVID free nation.

Captain of the Aotearoa was Simon Griffiths. He stated that his ship could carry 250,000 litres water and can produce an additional 70,000 litres per day.

Griffiths stated in a statement that he was heading Tonga’s way with lots of water. 

There are approximately 105,000 people living on the Polynesian archipelago, which has 176 islands. 36 of these islands are inhabited. Although the airport’s Fua’amotu International Airport wasn’t damaged in the tsunami, it was covered by ash that must be removed manually.

According to Tongan officials, aid flights from Australia and New Zealand may begin Thursday depending upon the clearing-up.

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, stated that two Hercules helicopters were available to transport humanitarian supplies and equipment as soon as possible.

Morrison, who spoke to Siaosi Sovaleni on Facebook, stated that HMAS Adelaide would also be departing from Brisbane equipped with water purification equipment, humanitarian supplies, and other items.

Pictured: A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai erupted in this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency on January 15, 2022

Pictured: A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted in this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency on January 15, 2022

The eruption at the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai off Tonga, January 14, 2022 is seen in a video gran showing the huge plume of ash and steam rising from the ocean

A video showing the massive plume of steam and ash rising from the sea at Hunga Tonga Ha’apai, Tonga on January 14, 2022 shows the eruption.

New Zealand and Australian air force planes have circled Tonga, as the true scale of devastation caused to the islands slowly emerges. Pictured above is one of the smaller islands, which appears grey because it is blanketed in ash

Tonga has been circling by Australian and New Zealand aircraft force planes. As the extent of destruction to these islands is slowly revealed, it’s not surprising that the Australian air force also circled Tonga. The picture above shows one of the smaller islands that appears grey, because it has been covered in ash.

An image taken from a military reconnaissance plane shows a Tongan village inundated with ash, while the beach shows signs of water damage where tsunami waves washed ashore following a huge volcanic eruption at the weekend

This image was taken by military reconnaissance airplane. It shows Tongan villages inundated with Ash, and the beaches showing evidence of tsunami damage.

Australia and New Zealand both have pledged immediate financial assistance in exchange for emergency supplies. U.S. Agency for International Development authorized $100,000 of immediate assistance.

Emma Veve from the Asian Development Bank said that Tonga was in discussions with it about declaring a state-of-emergency to use a disaster fund facility of $10 million.

Others countries, agencies and the United Nations are also working on plans. A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry stated that the country will provide water, food and other assistance when the airport opens.

On Saturday night, the Hunga Tonga Ha’apai volcano burst with a loud blast that was heard over 1,430 miles in New Zealand. This explosion sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean.

James Garvin was NASA’s chief scientist and the Goddard Space Flight Center’s chief scientist. The eruption produced an equivalent force to 5-10 megatons of TNT. This is more than 500 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb that the United States dropped upon Hiroshima in Japan at the end World War Two.

According to the office of the prime minister, waves reaching 50ft smashed the outer Ha’apia group of islands, destroying all houses and the west coast of Tongatapu.

Tongatapu residents were moved to evacuation centers after 56 homes were severely damaged or destroyed. New Zealand reported that power was restored, and Tongan officials were providing relief supplies.

The country remains offline as the volcano destroyed the only undersea fiber-optic communications cable. It would likely take at least a month to repair, the owner stated.

Samiuela Fonua (chairman of Tonga Cable Ltd) said that a specialist ship should depart Port Moresby for a weekend repair trip. However, with nine days to pick up equipment in Samoa it is a difficult task. He said it would be “lucky” if the work could be completed in one month.

Digicel, an international mobile network provider, has set up a 2G connection via a satellite dish. However, it’s patchy and only 10% of the usual capacity, according to the New Zealand foreign ministry.

Tongan community members abroad shared images of families via Facebook. It gave a glimpse at the extent of devastation with houses reduced to rubble, fallen tree, crack roads, sidewalks, and everything covered in grey ash.

Jonathan Veitch from Fiji said that while the United Nations and its aid agencies prepared relief flights for Tonga, they didn’t have any personnel on board to help prevent infection by coronavirus.

Tonga is the only country that has COVID-19 free, and an epidemic there would be catastrophic.