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Philippine embassy checking on Pinoys after Tonga tsunami

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 16/01/2022 Pia Lee-Brago
Philippine embassy checking on Pinoys after Tonga tsunami © AFP / Patrick T. Fallon Philippine embassy checking on Pinoys after Tonga tsunami

MANILA, Philippines — Coordination efforts by the Philippine embassy in New Zealand with local authorities and community leaders are ongoing to ascertain the situation on the ground and the condition of Filipinos in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji following the eruption of an underwater volcano on Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“The Philippine embassy in Wellington is closely following developments in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji after the eruption of an underwater volcano… triggering tsunamis and strong wave alerts across the Pacific,” the DFA said in a statement yesterday.

There are around 87 Filipinos in Tonga, 300 in Samoa and 400 in Fiji, according to the DFA.

The embassy reported residents moving to higher ground and disruptions to communication systems as tsunami waves reached Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

Tsunami advisories were also issued for the coastal areas of New Zealand, Japan and western states in the United States.

Tsunami and ash have been affecting Tonga following the eruption of the undersea volcano near the Pacific nation as tsunami warnings have been issued in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US.

A massive underwater volcano erupted just before sundown on Friday with plumes reaching more than 12 miles above sea level, according to the Tonga Geological Services. A cloud of ash and steam reached about 150 miles across, an event captured by satellite images that have been shared by various meteorological agencies.

There has been no immediate report of injuries or on the extent of damage due to the nation’s current lack of connectivity.

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