Terrified Tongans flee tsunami after dramatic underwater volcanic eruption

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Mere Taufa said she was at home getting ready for dinner when the volcano erupted.

“It was huge, the ground shook, our house shook. It came in waves. My younger brother thought bombs were going off nearby,” she told the Stuff news site.

She said water filled their house minutes later and she saw the wall of a nearby house crumble.

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“We knew straight away it was a tsunami. Just water gushing into our house. You could hear screaming everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to get on Heights.”

The initial eruption lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several miles into the air.

Fijian officials have warned residents to cover water collection tanks in the event of acid rain.

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Victorina Kioa of Tonga’s Civil Service Commission said people should “steer clear of warning areas which are low-lying coastal areas, reefs and beaches”.

Tonga Geological Survey chief Taaniela Kula urged people to stay indoors, wear a mask if outdoors and cover rainwater tanks and rainwater harvesting systems. rainwater.

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