The government of Tonga has confirmed three people have died in the recent volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami.

A 65-year-old woman from Mango island, a 49-year-old man on Nomuka island, and 50-year-old British woman on Tongatapu have reportedly died in the disaster.

Communication lines with Tonga have been severed following the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, which led to the Pacific island nation being inundated by tsunami waves and rained down upon with ash and volcanic debris.

A P-3K2 Orion aircraft flies over an area of Tonga that shows the heavy ash fall from the recent volcanic eruption within the Tongan Islands. 5 Squadron crew work on board whilst flying overhead to provide vital information to send back to MFAT and various other government agencies.
An image taken from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft shows heavy ashfall from the recent volcanic eruption within the Tongan Islands. New Zealand Defence Force/2022

Initial communication came from Australia and New Zealand High Commissions from the most populous island of Tongaptapu, while the central island group of Haapai continues to be a major concern.

Tonga released its first official statement on Tuesday.

Early damage assessments have shown the islands in the south of Haapai were decimated. The Tongan Maritime Force deployed a ship on Tuesday to deliver emergency supplies to the islands.

All houses on the island of Mango were destroyed, only two houses remain standing on Fonoifua and extensive damage has been reported on Nomuka.

Domestic telecommunication lines are open on Tongatapu and ‘Eua and telecommunications providers were working on reestablishing the country’s 2G network.

All domestic and international flights have been deferred until further notice while the recovery effort continues.

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