This past Saturday in Suva was a rainy one. Tropical downpours are typical this time of year; it’s summer here and cyclone season.
I walked out into the yard to find where the noise was coming from. It sounded similar to thunder, but I knew it wasn’t that. I thought maybe a neighbor had installed a new sound system and was watching a movie full of explosions with heavy bass notes.
I may have been on point about the explosions, but this was no movie: The sounds were coming from an erupting volcano in Tonga.
The blasts were so forceful that they literally rattled our locked front door intermittently for what seemed to be an hour.
The aftermath of the Hunga volcanic eruption is extensive. At least three people died, and the threat of tsunamis reached all the way to the west coast of the United States. Tonga’s submarine communications cable was cut off, and ash covers the land.
We visited Nukuʻalofa, the capital of Tonga, a couple years ago, and it struck me as we were driving around the main island of Tongatapu (it only takes about 45 min. to go all the way around) how low lying the land is, except for some oceanside cliffs. There are homes, highway and shops right at the water’s edge, all of which were flooded by the tsunamis triggered by Hunga’s eruption.
The volcano has quieted down at the moment, and the work of disaster relief and recovery has begun. Read the latest developments here.