The eruption of the undersea volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in Tonga had important consequences

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High waves attributed to the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in Tonga, Saturday, caused an oil spill on the Peruvian coast which was controlled within hours. A ship was loading oil into La Pampilla refinery on the Pacific coast on Sunday when strong waves moved the boat and caused a spill. Local authorities had closed area beaches to the public since Sunday. There were reports of minor damage due to the waves, from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California.

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The mission to repair the undersea communications cable that connects Tonga with the rest of the world could take more time than it was planified. Australia and New Zealand were assisting with satellite calls, but communications remained limited. The severed Tonga cable runs to Fiji, where it intersects with the trans-Pacific Southern Cross Cable, connecting Tonga to Australia, the US and the rest of the world. Repairs to the cable were expected to be carried out by the vessel CS Reliance, which was moored off the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, more than 4,000km away. „With luck we can have our cable ready within the next two weeks,” Samiuela Fonua, the chairperson of the state-owned Tonga Cable Ltd which owns and operates the cable, said. Volcanic ash clouds is also a big concern for a large area. The Tongan capital Nuku’alofa was estimated to be cloaked in 1-2 centimetres of ash, potentially poisoning water supplies and causing breathing difficulties. The first death due to the volcano eruption was confirmed: a British woman swept away by the tsunami. Two women also drowned Saturday in northern Peru in big waves.