Accessibility links

Breaking News

Internet Service Restored to Tonga


FILE - In this photo provided by the Australian Defence Force, debris from damaged building and trees are strewn around on Atata Island in Tonga, on Jan. 28, 2022, following the eruption of an underwater volcano and subsequent tsunami.

More than a month after its single undersea fiber-optic cable was severely damaged by a volcanic eruption and tsunami, the Pacific island nation of Tonga is finally reconnected to the rest of the world.

Internet service was restored Tuesday for residents on the main island of Tongatupu, 37 days after the archipelago was devastated by an eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, located about 64 kilometers north of the capital, Nuku’alofa, followed by a tsunami that washed away entire villages.

Officials with Tonga Cable, the state-owned company that owns the cable, said a repair ship had to replace a 90 kilometer section of the cable that connected Tonga to Fiji and other international networks. Tonga Cable CEO James Panuve says restoration of service to the main island means repair crews can now focus on restoring service to Tonga’s smaller outlying islands, an operation that could take several months.

FILE - Australian Air Force Air Movement Operators from No. 23 Squadron load humanitarian assistance and supplies onboard an aircraft bound for Tonga to assist in relief efforts, at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, Australia, Jan. 21, 2022.
FILE - Australian Air Force Air Movement Operators from No. 23 Squadron load humanitarian assistance and supplies onboard an aircraft bound for Tonga to assist in relief efforts, at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, Australia, Jan. 21, 2022.

Three people in Tonga were killed in the January 15 disaster. The volcanic ash produced by the eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai turned the air over the main island toxic and contaminated the island’s fresh drinking water.

The aftermath of the disaster has been aggravated by the island’s first outbreak of COVID-19 cases, which may have been brought in by foreign crews delivering critical relief supplies to Tonga.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

Recommended

XS
SM
MD
LG