British woman Angela Glover’s body found following Tonga tsunami as UN worries about distress beacon

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The body of a British woman believed to have been swept away by the tsunami in Tonga has been found, as the UN worries about two small low islands where an emergency beacon was activated.

Angela Glover, 50, is the first known death in Tonga following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday, which was felt around the world and triggered a tsunami that affected many countries.

Ms Glover’s brother Nick Eleini, who lives in Sydney, confirmed her body had been found and said the family were “devastated” by the loss.

“She loved her life – both when she was working in London and then she realized her lifelong dream of going to work in the South Pacific,” Mr Eleini said.

Ms Glover moved to Tonga with her husband, James, where she founded the Tonga Animal Welfare Society.

“She was beautiful, she was absolutely a ray of sunshine,” Mr Eleini said.

“I understand that this terrible accident happened while they were trying to save their dogs.”

Mr Glover, who runs a tattoo shop called The Happy Sailor, was able to survive the tsunami by clinging to a tree.

“I don’t have the words in my vocabulary to describe how we are feeling right now,” Mr Eleini said.

“It was just a terrible shock that happened to us.

“You know, we’re regular people. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen to people like us. But it does happen.”

Two women reportedly drowned in Peru when large waves caused by the eruption swept them away.

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Nick Eleini said his sister loved her life in Tonga and adored the Tongan people.

Reports of “waves that reached 5 to 10 meters”

Speaker of the Tonga Legislative Assembly Fatafehi ​​Fakafanua said there were reports of waves up to 10 meters high hitting some islands after Saturday’s volcanic eruption, and other deaths unconfirmed.

He said information was coming in from all over the archipelago.

“In some of the badly damaged areas, we heard of waves reaching 5 to 10 meters high,” he said.

“As you can imagine, that would be very devastating for a low island.

“There are a few death reports, but we are still awaiting more information on this.”

Initial reports suggested no mass casualties on the main island of Togatapu, but two people were missing and the capital Nuku’alofa was badly damaged, as were resorts and homes along the western beaches of the island.

“Further volcanic activity cannot be ruled out,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update.

OCHA said only minor injuries had been reported, but stressed that formal assessments, particularly from outer islands, had yet to be released as communications were hit hard.

The uninhabited volcanic island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai all but disappeared after the blast, satellite imagery showed about 12 hours later.

The Pacific archipelago was blanketed in ash, and clouds of volcanic ash spread to countries thousands of miles to the west.

Distress signal sparks UN concern

OCHA said there had been no contact with the Ha’apai group of islands and there was “particular concern” about two small, low islands – Fonoi and Mango – where a distress beacon active had been detected.

According to the government of Tonga, 36 people live in Mango and 69 in Fonoi.

Australia and New Zealand sent surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage and Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said Australian police had visited the beaches and reported extensive damage, with “discarded houses”.

Senator Seselja said he expected HMAS Adelaide to deploy tomorrow, with the ash cloud caused by an underwater volcanic eruption still preventing any ability to send supplies by air.

“There is still a significant amount of ash, I understand, at the airport,” he told the Nine network.

“We were hoping that the airport could open today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow, and as soon as it opens, we can deliver some of these humanitarian supplies via these C-130 planes that are ready to go. from Amberley.”

Senator Seselja said water, food, fuel and cleaning equipment were given priority.

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The Geological Surveys of Tonga filmed video of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano a day before the massive eruption.

Lord Fakafanua said there was still a lot of initial rescue and recovery work going on.

“Regarding the airlift and supplies to Tonga…they are trying to sweep the runway from what I hear they may be able to get the runway ready for the air force to land the supplies by Wednesday “, did he declare. .

However, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Tonga High Commission in Canberra, Curtis Tu’ihalangingie, expressed concern about the potential for the spread of COVID-19 as aid begins to arrive.

“As much as we are going to send aid to Tonga, we will still have to follow COVID-19 protocols, to keep people and people safe, rather than sending aid, and there is a tsunami of COVID hitting Tonga,” he said.

Senator Seselja also said the Australian government was working with Telstra to set up “temporary equipment” to provide an interim telecommunications system.

Tonga’s internet has been cut since the eruption, meaning many families overseas are anxiously waiting to hear if their loved ones are safe.

The company that owns the only undersea fiber optic cable that connects the island nation to the rest of the world said it was likely severed during the eruption and repairs could take weeks.

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Social media videos in Tonga show residents running for safety as large waves crash onto the shore.

‘Completely destroyed’

The New Zealand High Commission reported extensive damage along the west coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where many resorts are located, and the waterfront of the capital, Nuku’alofa.

A satellite image released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates that dozens of structures were damaged on Nomuka Island.

The Ha’atafu Beach Resort, on the Hihifo peninsula, 21 km west of the capital Nuku’alofa, has been “completely wiped out”, the owners said on Facebook.

The family running the resort ran for their lives in the bush to escape the tsunami, he added.

“The entire west coast was completely destroyed along with the village of Kanukupolu,” the resort said.

The Red Cross said it was mobilizing its network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruption the Pacific has seen in decades.

The organization’s Asia-Pacific director, Alexander Matheou, said purifying water to remove ash contamination, providing shelter and reuniting families were priorities.

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According to the Red Cross, 80,000 people could be affected by the tsunami in Tonga.

ABC/son

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