No Filipino casualties have so far been reported following the violent eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
The volcano, which lies between the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai, erupted last Saturday, triggering tsunamis and wave alerts in several parts of the globe.
“As of 18 January, the Philippine Embassy in Wellington has received no reports of casualties or injuries in the Filipino community in Tonga and Samoa,” the DFA said in a statement.
The Embassy received information from the Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. “that every Filipino citizen in the Kingdom of Tonga has been accounted for and that there are currently no casualties”.
Internet and international calls, meanwhile, are still unavailable in the country.
This said, the Embassy continues to exhaust efforts to contact Filipinos in Tonga primarily using its emergency satellite phone.
Indications show that it might take two weeks before the communications system is fully restored in the Pacific island country, the DFA said.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, will continue to closely monitor the situation in Tonga, to ensure the continued safety of our kababayans,” it added.
The DFA said there are at least 87 Filipinos in Tonga, 300 in Samoa, and 400 in Fiji.
The United Nations reported that the massive volcanic eruption was heard as far away as Alaska, while the tsunami caused by the blast flooded coastlines in Japan and the United States, also killing two people in Peru. However, it noted that it’s still “too soon” to assess the damage.
“So far in Tonga, no official contact has been established with two small low-lying islands Mango and Fonoi, although surveillance flights by New Zealand and Australia have revealed substantial damage along western beaches,” it said in a January 17 report. (PNA)