Three days after the massive eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the Pacific, the consequences of the most massive volcanic eruption in three decades, the true extent of the damage and the number of possible victims are still completely unclear. But little by little, the first reports of massive damage and missing people, who turn into dead people, are coming to light. Particularly heartbreaking is the news of the tragic fate of a heroic Brit who dedicated her life to saving animals – and finally lost it trying to save her dogs from the tsunami. She is the first confirmed fatality of the volcanic catastrophe that her brother now gave a face to.
Angela Glover (50) has lived in Tonga with her husband James for five years. There she founded an animal shelter to care for and house stray dogs – the animals were her life. As British media reported, she was missing after the volcanic eruption after she was swept away by the masses of water and literally washed out of her house. The Brit was last seen clinging to flotsam – but now it is sad certainty: Glover lost the fight against the water masses, she died in the floods. This was confirmed by Angela’s brother Nick Eleini, who lives in Australia, on British radio. Particularly tragic: As Nick says, his sister lost her life when she wanted to save her fur-nosed darlings: “My sister died when she was saving her dogs!” says the devastated Eleini.
And Angelas is not the only tragic victim of the Tonga disaster. The volcano’s eruption caused tidal waves in Japan, the United States, New Zealand and several South American Pacific islands, and reports of damage and casualties are now pouring in from wherever contact is possible — even from Peru. Two women have drowned in the north of the country, according to rescue services, and the Peruvian Center for National Emergency Response blames volcanic activity in Tonga.
The damage to property, to which many human fates are also linked, is devastating. According to the first confirmed reports, the volcanic eruption hit the tourist area on the west coast of the main island of Tongatapu particularly hard. The owners of the Ha’atafu Beach Resort located there took to Facebook to say their resort had been completely leveled. “The entire western coastline and the village of Kanukupolu are completely destroyed,” the message said. The employees there could just about get to safety with their children.
But reports like these are just the tip of the iceberg, because contact with the individual islands is still difficult, and many are completely cut off from the outside world. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there has been no contact at all, especially with the Ha’apai archipelago. After tsunami warnings were issued in several coastal areas immediately after the eruption – even on the west coast of the USA ( the eXXpress reported) – the concern for the low-lying islands of Mango and Fonoi is particularly great. An emergency signal was received from Mango, it said on Monday.
With every day that passes, the concern grows – especially about the fate of the many people who are missing. Even if almost nothing is known at the moment, it seems certain that the deaths of Anna Glover and the women from Peru will not be individual fates. But that’s not the only reason for headaches: As satellite images show, the gigantic ash cloud that the volcanic eruption triggered is still moving in the atmosphere and is now drifting towards Australia’s west coast.