Jan 18, 2022 - World

Satellite images reveal Tonga eruption damage

Satellite images of homes and other buildings before and after Tonga's volcanic eruption.
Satellite images of homes and other buildings in the Tongan capital of Nukuʻalofa, on the north coast of the island of Tongatapu, before and after the nearby Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

The first images are emerging of the damage to Tonga's islands, which were hit by a volcanic eruption and tsunami waves over the weekend.

The big picture: At least three people were confirmed to have died in Saturday's disaster. Satellite images shared by the UN Satellite Center on Monday and Maxar Technologies on Tuesday underscore what officials on the ground are reporting: There's major damage on the main island of Tongatapuatu, where ash and dust are hindering relief efforts.

Left, an overview of Tonga's volcano on Jan. 6. Right, the volcano seems to have all but disappeared on Jan. 18.
Left, an overview of Tonga's volcano on Jan. 6. Right, the volcano seems to have all but disappeared on Jan. 18. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Satellite images of the port at Tonga's capital before and after the volcanic eruption.
Satellite images of the main port facilities in Nukuʻalofa before and after the volcanic eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Satellite images taken before and after Tonga's volcanic eruption at the city's main airport
Satellite images taken before and after Tonga's volcanic eruption in the area around Fuaʻamotu International Airport in Nukuʻalofa. Right, shows evidence of water inundation in and around Tonga's main airport. Photo: United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT).
 Before and after satellite images of Tonga’s Lifuka Village in Pangai District. Right, map shows evidence of water invasion and other damage on roads and affected structures.
Before and after satellite images of Tonga’s Lifuka Village in Pangai District. Right, map shows evidence of water invasion and other damage on roads and affected structures. Photo: UNOSAT.

Editor's note: This article was updated with new details from officials in Tonga.

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