Internet Connection Restored in Tonga Five Weeks After Submarine Volcanic Eruption

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Five weeks after the submarine eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano in the Pacific Ocean, the people of Tonga, a kingdom of 177 islands in the Polynesian archipelago, have regained full internet access.

 

Internet connections have been restored on the main island of Tongatapu and on the island of ‘Eua, local media reported on Tuesday.

A major submarine communications cable connecting the archipelago with Fiji was torn 80 kilometres by the quake. That cable has now been repaired. The “virtual cyber darkness” in the kingdom is thus ending, Kaniva Tonga news service reported.

In mid-January, the volcanic eruption covered the kingdom under a thick layer of ash, which also polluted drinking water. Experts say it was one of the worst eruptions in decades. The volcano is about 65 kilometres from Tongatapu and about 2,000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand.

The eruption caused atmospheric shock waves and a tsunami that reached all the way to Alaska, Japan and South America. There was hardly any news from Tonga for days, and contact was only possible via a few satellite links.

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