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Fears are growing for a British charity worker feared to have been swept away when a tsunami triggered by a ‘once-a-millennium’ volcanic eruption inundated the Pacific island of Tonga.

Angela Glover, 50, was last seen in person by her husband James when a wall of water crashed through their coastal home in Veitongo on the Polynesian island.

An urgent appeal for information about her was put online yesterday by friends and relatives living in Australia.

The news came as Australia and New Zealand both made efforts to send aid and reconnaissance planes to the region.

The underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted late Saturday afternoon local time (Saturday morning GMT) setting off tsunami waves that crossed the Pacific and blanketing the surrounding islands in thick ash.

Seabed cables that carry the internet to and from the remote archipelago are believed to have been severed in the blast, adding to the confusion from the scene.

50-year-old British aid worker Angela Glover was last seen in person by her husband James when a wall of water crashed through their coastal home in Veitongo on the Polynesian island of Tonga

50-year-old British aid worker Angela Glover was last seen in person by her husband James when a wall of water crashed through their coastal home in Veitongo on the Polynesian island of Tonga

50-year-old British aid worker Angela Glover was last seen in person by her husband James when a wall of water crashed through their coastal home in Veitongo on the Polynesian island of Tonga

A newly formed volcanic cone between the Tonga islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai erupts on 15 January 2015, releasing dense, particle-rich jets from the upper regions and surges of water-rich material around the base

A newly formed volcanic cone between the Tonga islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai erupts on 15 January 2015, releasing dense, particle-rich jets from the upper regions and surges of water-rich material around the base

A newly formed volcanic cone between the Tonga islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai erupts on 15 January 2015, releasing dense, particle-rich jets from the upper regions and surges of water-rich material around the base

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcanco erupted. Pictured: Satellite images of the volanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcanco erupted. Pictured: Satellite images of the volanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcanco erupted. Pictured: Satellite images of the volanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday

The eruption is the latest explosion on the islands in the past month after days of volatility on Tonga, which has seen smaller eruptions before

The eruption is the latest explosion on the islands in the past month after days of volatility on Tonga, which has seen smaller eruptions before

The eruption is the latest explosion on the islands in the past month after days of volatility on Tonga, which has seen smaller eruptions before

Scientists said the eruption was a 'once in a thousand years' occurrence but warned it may not be over yet and there could be further explosions

Scientists said the eruption was a 'once in a thousand years' occurrence but warned it may not be over yet and there could be further explosions

Scientists said the eruption was a ‘once in a thousand years’ occurrence but warned it may not be over yet and there could be further explosions

The volcanic eruption let out a huge plume of ash and has reportedly created a new island, although communications remain down on Tonga

The volcanic eruption let out a huge plume of ash and has reportedly created a new island, although communications remain down on Tonga

The volcanic eruption let out a huge plume of ash and has reportedly created a new island, although communications remain down on Tonga

Tonga volcano eruption as seen from Himawari-8 of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Hundreds of frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa

Tonga volcano eruption as seen from Himawari-8 of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Hundreds of frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa

Tonga volcano eruption as seen from Himawari-8 of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Hundreds of frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa

A satellite image shows the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai with a plume of smoke rising from it, days before the eruption
The volcano two hours before its eruption in Tonga
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Left: A satellite image shows the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai with a plume of smoke rising from it, days before the eruption. Right: The volcano two hours before its eruption in Tonga.

Pictured: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left). The images showed a three-mile-wide plume rising into the air to about 12 miles

Pictured: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left). The images showed a three-mile-wide plume rising into the air to about 12 miles

Pictured: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left). The images showed a three-mile-wide plume rising into the air to about 12 miles

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

People look at a damaged boat in a marina at Tutukaka, New Zealand, after waves from a volcano eruption swept into the marina

People look at a damaged boat in a marina at Tutukaka, New Zealand, after waves from a volcano eruption swept into the marina

People look at a damaged boat in a marina at Tutukaka, New Zealand, after waves from a volcano eruption swept into the marina

A man takes a picture of the big waves in the breakwater caused by the tsunami in Venice beach while he walks with his dog

A man takes a picture of the big waves in the breakwater caused by the tsunami in Venice beach while he walks with his dog

A man takes a picture of the big waves in the breakwater caused by the tsunami in Venice beach while he walks with his dog

It remains unclear how many people were killed in the eruption and subsequent flooding.

Former Londoner Angela, who works for an animal charity, emigrated to Tonga five years ago.

On Sunday she took to social media to comment on the eruption, saying her home was under a tsunami warning. It is believed the waves hit minutes later.

How can volcanoes create new islands? 

Volcanic islands are created by eruptions underwater, usually at the boundaries of two tectonic plates, which are pieces of the earth’s crust.

When the plates ease apart, lava spews out in a volcanic eruption.

When the lava cools, layers of erupted material form the basis of new land mass. 

They layers build their way up from the sea bed to create new islands.

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Tattooist James is believed to have been able to cling to a tree but Angela, who runs a dog rescue centre on the island and several of her animals were swept away.

Her friend Donna Head posted on Facebook: ‘Ange is still missing.’

She added: ‘We must be optimistic and pray for a miracle… I’m trying to process that this beautiful happy face is missing.

‘I shall continue to update when I have further news.’

She finished with the hashtag #prayforAnge.

Another post read: ‘My uncle held on to a tree but my Auntie and dogs were washed away.

‘My uncle still hasn’t been able to find my Auntie. If anyone has any information please reach out.’

As the search continued, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged his country would supply aid to Tongans as soon as possible but added the ash cloud was adding to the logistical problems.

‘There’s been a lot of challenges there with the ash cloud and the disruption to communications and so we are working together to get as much support to Tonga as we possibly can,’ Morrison said.

Australia’s Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said initial reports suggested no mass casualties and that Tonga’s airport ‘appears to be in relatively good condition’ but there were ‘significant damage’ to roads and bridges.

Seselja said Australia was liaising with the United States, New Zealand, France and other countries to coordinate responses.

New Zealand’s Defence Minister Peeni Henare said at a news conference in Auckland that power had been restored in large parts of Nuku’alofa and some communications are back up.

A New Zealand Hercules C-130 would perform drops of essentials after the requirements are assessed and the navy will also be deployed.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that the tsunami had a significant impact on infrastructure.

Red Cross said it was mobilising its regional network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruptions the Pacific has experienced in decades.

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday

A surfer defies warnings to stay out of the water and catches a wave at Manhattan Beach in El Segundo, California Saturday

A surfer defies warnings to stay out of the water and catches a wave at Manhattan Beach in El Segundo, California Saturday

A surfer defies warnings to stay out of the water and catches a wave at Manhattan Beach in El Segundo, California Saturday

‘Red Cross has enough relief supplies to support 1,200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits,’ said Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation told Reuters.

She said the agency is expecting up to 80,000 people to be affected by the tsumani

‘That is what we are planning for as a worst-case scenario until we can get further confirmation from the people on the ground,’ she said.

The agency said there were concerns that communities may not have access to safe drinking water as a result of saltwater inundation caused by the tsunami waves and ashfall.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades but the impact of Saturday’s eruption was felt was far away as Fiji, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. Two people drowned off a beach in Northern Peru due to high waves caused by the tsunami.

Early data suggests the volcanic eruption was the biggest blast since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

‘This is an eruption best witnessed from space,’ Cronin said.

A tsunami has struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

A tsunami has struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

A tsunami has struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

Locals had little warnings as the huge waves came ashore

Locals had little warnings as the huge waves came ashore

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of the surging waves making land and crashing through homes and cars

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of the surging waves making land and crashing through homes and cars

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of the surging waves making land and crashing through homes and cars (pictured, still images from video filmed in Tonga and posted to social media on Saturday)

Waves wash ashore Seal Beach after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption over 5300 miles away

Waves wash ashore Seal Beach after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption over 5300 miles away

Waves wash ashore Seal Beach after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption over 5300 miles away

‘The large and explosive lateral spread of the eruption suggests that it was probably the biggest one since about the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo,’ Cronin said.

‘This is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years,’ he added. ‘We could be in for several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano.

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising above the sea. A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was declared for all of the archipelago, and data from the Pacific tsunami center said waves of 2.7 feet were detected.

Across the Pacific on California’s central coast, the National Weather Service reported tsunami waves up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) and flooding in beach parking lots at Port San Luis. About 200 miles (320 km) down the coast, the waves were much smaller at Southern California’s Seal Beach, according to Michael Pless, the owner of M&M Surf School.

Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, who chairs the New Zealand Tonga Business Council, said she hoped the relatively low level of the tsunami waves would have allowed most people to get to safety, although she worried about those living on islands closest to the volcano.

She said she hadn’t yet been able to contact her friends and family in Tonga.

Some churches in New Zealand organised community prayers in Auckland and other cities.

‘We pray God will help our country at this sad moment. We hope everybody is safe,’ Maikeli Atiola, the Secretary of the Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Auckland said, Radio New Zealand reported.

Ms Ardern said the main undersea communications cable has been impacted, likely due to loss of power.

Power was being restored in some areas on the islands and local mobile phones were slowly starting to work, she added.   

In Seal Beach, California, residents ignored warnings to stay away from the beach and flocked to the municipal pier to take pictures of the waves after a tsunami advisory was issued

In Seal Beach, California, residents ignored warnings to stay away from the beach and flocked to the municipal pier to take pictures of the waves after a tsunami advisory was issued

In Seal Beach, California, residents ignored warnings to stay away from the beach and flocked to the municipal pier to take pictures of the waves after a tsunami advisory was issued

Spectators flock to view waves from the Seal Beach municipal pier after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption around 5,300 miles away

Spectators flock to view waves from the Seal Beach municipal pier after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption around 5,300 miles away

Spectators flock to view waves from the Seal Beach municipal pier after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption around 5,300 miles away

Locals pleaded for people to 'pray for us' as the eruption was compared to 'bombs going off' by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

Locals pleaded for people to 'pray for us' as the eruption was compared to 'bombs going off' by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

Locals pleaded for people to ‘pray for us’ as the eruption was compared to ‘bombs going off’ by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

The eruption was so intense it was heard as 'loud thunder sounds' in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials in Suva said

The eruption was so intense it was heard as 'loud thunder sounds' in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials in Suva said

The eruption was so intense it was heard as ‘loud thunder sounds’ in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials in Suva said

One complicating factor to any international aid effort is that Tonga has so far managed to avoid any outbreaks of Covid-19.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand’s military staff were all fully vaccinated and willing to follow any protocols established by Tonga.

The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located about 40 miles north of the capital, Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

There is not a significant difference between volcanoes underwater and on land, and underwater volcanoes become bigger as they erupt, at some point usually breaching the surface, said Hans Schwaiger, a research geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Large waves move in near Santa Cruz on Saturday. Inundation is not expected, but a tsunami advisory means there could be dangerous currents and strong waves along the coast

Large waves move in near Santa Cruz on Saturday. Inundation is not expected, but a tsunami advisory means there could be dangerous currents and strong waves along the coast

Large waves move in near Santa Cruz on Saturday. Inundation is not expected, but a tsunami advisory means there could be dangerous currents and strong waves along the coast

Large waves are seen in San Mateo County at around 8.10am on Saturday as a tsunami moved ashore

Large waves are seen in San Mateo County at around 8.10am on Saturday as a tsunami moved ashore

Large waves are seen in San Mateo County at around 8.10am on Saturday as a tsunami moved ashore

Joggers stretch next to a tsunami hazard zone sign in El Segundo, California, on January 15, 2022. The US National Weather Service issued tsunami advisories for the entire west coast of the United States following a massive volcanic eruption

Joggers stretch next to a tsunami hazard zone sign in El Segundo, California, on January 15, 2022. The US National Weather Service issued tsunami advisories for the entire west coast of the United States following a massive volcanic eruption

Joggers stretch next to a tsunami hazard zone sign in El Segundo, California, on January 15, 2022. The US National Weather Service issued tsunami advisories for the entire west coast of the United States following a massive volcanic eruption

Pictured: Image captured by NOAA's GOES West satellite and made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, located in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, 13 January 2022

Pictured: Image captured by NOAA's GOES West satellite and made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, located in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, 13 January 2022

Pictured: Image captured by NOAA’s GOES West satellite and made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, located in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, 13 January 2022

With underwater volcanoes, however, the water can add to the explosivity of the eruption as it hits the lava, Schwaiger added.

Before an explosion, there is generally an increase in small local earthquakes at the volcano, but depending on how far it is from land, that may not be felt by residents along the shoreline, Schwaiger said.

In 2019, Tonga lost internet access for nearly two weeks when a fiber-optic cable was severed. The director of the local cable company said at the time that a large ship may have cut the cable by dragging an anchor. Until limited satellite access was restored people couldn’t even make international calls.

Southern Cross Cable Network’s Veverka said limited satellite connections exist between Tonga and other parts of the world but he did not know if they might be affected by power outages.

The eruption (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometres away and sparked warnings in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa

The eruption (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometres away and sparked warnings in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa

The eruption (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometres away and sparked warnings in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa

A tsunami advisory (orange) is in effect for Hawaii and the entire US Pacific seaboard, from the US/Mexico border all the way to the tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, after an undersea volcano erupted near Tonga

A tsunami advisory (orange) is in effect for Hawaii and the entire US Pacific seaboard, from the US/Mexico border all the way to the tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, after an undersea volcano erupted near Tonga

A tsunami advisory (orange) is in effect for Hawaii and the entire US Pacific seaboard, from the US/Mexico border all the way to the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, after an undersea volcano erupted near Tonga

Source: dailymail

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