Volcano eruption triggers evacuation orders, metre-high waves in Japan

Sunday, 2022-01-16 09:07:13
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An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing large waves in several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes.
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Hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens were advised to evacuate on Sunday as waves of more than a metre hit coastal areas, public broadcaster NHK reported, after the eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga triggered tsunami warnings.

Around 230,000 people were advised to evacuate across eight prefectures due to the tsunami risk, NHK reported. The alert included areas hit by the deadly 2011 tsunami.

Ten boats were capsized in Kochi prefecture on Shikoku island in southern Japan, NHK said, and Japan Airlines cancelled 27 flights at airports across the country.

Tsunami waves were observed in Tonga’s capital and the capital of American Samoa, a US-based tsunami monitor said, following the eruption at 0410 GMT of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano.

The volcano, which lies about 65 km (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2-metre (four-foot) tsunami wave, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

The bureau said it continued to monitor the situation but no tsunami threat had been issued to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

In a briefing, a Japan Meteorological Agency official urged people not to go near the sea until the tsunami advisory and more serious tsunami warnings had been lifted. The warnings – the first in more than five years – covered several specific areas.

Reuters