Tonga volcano damage glimpsed in satellite images

©CNES (2021), Distribution Airbus D&S
Satellite images released by the United Nations Satellite Center on Monday show a village near Nuku’alofa before (left photo) and after Saturday’s eruption.

GENEVA/JAKARTA — The United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) on Monday released satellite images showing Saturday’s eruption of an undersea volcano off Tonga in the South Pacific and the impact of tsunami caused by it.

One image shows a coastal area flooded by tsunami and inundated buildings in a village near Nuku’alofa, Tong’s capital. Another shows the islands around the volcano covered with volcanic ash.

A British woman living in Tonga was confirmed dead, BBC has reported after it obtained the information from a relative of the woman. The woman, 50, was engaged in activities to rescue stray dogs and other animals with her husband. It was believed that she was swept away by tsunami while trying to save a dog, which would make this case the first death from the disaster.

Tonga Geological Services via Reuters
This screen grab obtained from a social media video shows an eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai off Tonga on Friday. The volcano was active prior to Saturday’s eruption.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Monday that a distress signal had been detected from a Tongan island believed to have more than 30 residents. It also said a resort in the western part of Tongatapu, the island home to the capital, was severely damaged by tsunami.