Tsunami flood sweeps away vehicle in Fiji after undersea volcano erupts in Tonga

A vehicle was swept away by a flood in Fiji after an undersea volcano in neighbouring Tonga erupted, triggering tsunami warnings across the South Pacific on Saturday January 15.

Footage shows locals in Fiji staying on higher ground as the tide swept in, submerging houses and carrying off empty vehicles.

Tonga’s Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday in a powerful blast reportedly comparable to the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago.

The extent of the damage is still unknown as clouds of volcanic ash has hampered aerial surveillance efforts, and communication lines are still severed across a large swath of Tonga, which has a population of about 105,000 people.

Tonga Parliament Speaker Lord Fakafanua said: ‘Communications remain down and the full extent of the harm to lives and property is currently unknown.

‘What we do know is that Tonga needs immediate assistance to provide its citizens with fresh drinking water and food.’