Wed, 18 May 2022

WELLINGTON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand has pledged to provide support for Tonga following a volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves crashing onto the Pacific Island.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters at a Sunday media conference that the New Zealand government has made an initial sum of 500,000 New Zealand dollars (340,000 U.S. dollars) available to provide assistance to Tonga.

The tsunami had a significant impact on part of the foreshore of Tonga, with boats and large boulders washed ashore and shops along the coast damaged, said Ardern.

There has been no official report of injuries or deaths yet. However, communications were interrupted and limited. The main undersea communications cable has been impacted, said Ardern.

"Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga. A New Zealand Defence Force P3 Orion is on stand-by to provide aerial surveillance subject to conditions including ash fall," said Ardern.

Along with the aircraft flight, New Zealand was considering the deployment of a naval ship should it being needed, said Ardern.

The New Zealand government was waiting to hear from the Tongan authorities about what was needed, said Ardern.

Tsunami waves hit Tonga on Saturday evening. The tsunami followed a series of violent eruptions from submarine volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai, 65 km north of the country's main island Tongatapu.

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