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A mini-tsunami reached as far as Japan after Saturday's eruption, damaging boats in Kochi prefecture.

Tsunami threat over after Pacific volcano eruption

By :BBC
Published : Jan 16, 2022 04:52:00 PM | World

The threat of further tsunamis around the Pacific after Saturday's huge underwater volcano eruption near Tonga has passed, a monitoring group says.

On Sunday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said the threat had receded but coastal areas should remain alert for strong or unusual currents.

The US and Japan earlier warned people to move away from coastal areas.

But while further tsunamis may be unlikely, there are mounting fears over how badly Tonga has been hit.

At a news conference on Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said boats and large boulders had washed ashore in the island nation's capital Nuku'alofa.

"Nuku'alofa is covered in a thick film of volcanic dust - but otherwise conditions are calm and stable," she said adding that communications with the tiny Pacific nation remained very limited.

Ardern said New Zealand was preparing to send an air force reconnaissance aircraft to assess the scale of the damage on Monday morning providing it is safe to do so.

So far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga.

Also on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was "deeply concerned" about the potential damage and was ready to send support.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, about 65km (40 miles) north of Nuku'alofa, caused waves of more than a metre to crash into the island.

Social media footage showed water washing through a church and several homes in the city.