HomePasifikaTongan Am concerned for family after volcanic eruption

Tongan Am concerned for family after volcanic eruption

The Tongan American community expressed anxieties Saturday as word reached them of an underwater volcanic eruption off the island of Tonga.

Many have been unable to reach family living on the island, adding to their fears.

“I came to the gym to get my mind off it,” said Kuinini Manumua who represented Tonga in this past summer’s Olympics, and now lives in the United States. “I’m just really scared. I’m just praying for everyone on Tonga right now,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

One of four Tongans in the United States lives in Utah.

“Every Tongan on the globe is searching for any bit of information. There’s a lot of people who are feeling it,” said Sam Lutui of St. George, UT to Fox13.

Lutui says he’s been unable to get any information. He said everything “just went dark with no internet, no power, no nothing.”

Tina Puafisi actually was on the phone with relatives in Tonga the moment before the volcano blew. She said they had received a Tsunami warning and were preparing to evacuate their home. She not heard from them since.

“I’m just so scared,” she said to the Chronicle.

People are left to watch coverage from neighboring islands.

“It’s just kind of shocking to see that the water is already inland at least six inches or so,” said Phil Uipi, an attorney in Utah said to Fox 13.

According to Reuters, the island is home to 105,000 residents. Significant damage is feared. Even communication with the capital of Nuku’alofa has been limited.

“There are parts of Tonga we just don’t know yet,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Nuku’alofa is covered in thick plumes of volcanic dust, but otherwise conditions are calm and stable.”

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