Volcanic eruption triggers ash clouds warning in Tonga

Source: Xinhua| 2021-12-22 19:59:55|Editor: huaxia

SUVA, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The volcanic eruption in Tonga's Hunga Ha'apai island has resulted in ash and possible acid rain which continued on Wednesday to threaten water tanks and air quality across the island nation.

According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Wednesday, the huge eruption from the Hunga Ha'apai island, about 65 km north of capital city Nuku'alofa, started on Monday morning, and by the afternoon the ash had dusted the whole country, the South Pacific island nation with a population of more than 100,000.

Tonga's head geologist Taaniela Kula said the ash clouds from the volcanic eruption had since drifted north creating a spectacular sight, and leading to warnings.

He said that on Wednesday morning it is still continuing to emit gas and vapour into the atmosphere. People can still see the white clouds, probably about 16 km high.

There is no idea when the volcanic eruption will end but expects it to continue for at least another week, the geologist said.

According to Matangi Tonga Online, Tonga's news website, Tonga Geological Services has urged all residents in the island nation to protect their water tanks from possible acid rainfall until the eruption ends.

The last eruption in the Hunga Ha'apai island took place in December 2014, which had formed a new island more than 1 km long, joined to the existing island.

The volcano is part of the highly active Tonga-Kermadec Islands volcanic arc, a subduction zone extending from New Zealand's north-northeast to Fiji.

In Fiji, the country's Department of Environment said on Wednesday that the volcanic eruption in Tonga should not be a cause of alarm at this point because the air remains safe to breathe in Fiji.

The department said it will continue to closely monitor the situation in Tonga and work with the Fiji National Disaster Management Office and Fiji Meteorological Service. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Tonga,Volcanic Eruption