Natural Disaster Cuts Communication to an Entire Nation

Natural Disaster Cuts Communication to an Entire Nation

( – In September of 2021, the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted in the Canary Islands. Another nation, thousands of miles away, is now experiencing a devastating volcanic eruption just months later — leaving most without any form of communication.

On Saturday, January 15, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano near the Tongan islands erupted. It was so powerful, satellites in space caught it.

Massive waves hit Tonga from the force of the blast. All communications were knocked out on the islands, leaving families to only guess what might have happened to their loved ones. The main concern is the break in the 500-mile Tonga cable, which is part of a network of subsea cables the keep the south Pacific connected to the rest of the world. With it inoperable, residents on the islands are reliant on satellite communications which were also hampered by the volcano’s dust cloud.

Experts say it could take weeks to repair the underwater communications systems, leaving a lot of uncertainty in the meantime. A repair ship is on the way, but a threat of another potential eruption could keep the ship at bay for some time.

That wasn’t the only effect, though. Two people drowned in Peru as the surf became unusually violent. People all the way in the United States could hear the volcano explode, and the tsunami caused flooding in Santa Cruz, California, as well as high surf along other coastal areas on the west coast.

The eruption is being called a once-in-a-thousand-year event. Volcanologists are warning officials there could be more activity in the coming weeks and months. Officials across the world will need to remain vigilant.

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