Volcanologist says there’s a resettlement scheme to help people affected by the volcanic disaster relocate to other islands in Tonga as small-scale eruptions are expected

People living in the areas badly affected by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic disaster are relocating to other islands in Tonga.

Three people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed from tsunami generated by the massive eruption, all resorts on the western side of Tongatapu were completely wiped out.

University of Auckland Volcanologist Shane Cronin said there’s a resettlement scheme to help people relocate to ‘Eua island.

“In places like Ha’apai, some people from the island of Mango, so there’s a big resettlement scheme for those people to relocate to the island of ‘Eua into high ground and that’s the sort of thing that needs to be thought about, other people living in low-lying areas … what are the other alternatives in the future?”

Meanwhile, small-scale eruptions are expected following the volcanic eruption and tsunami.

Four months on, new scientific evidence is helping to paint a clearer picture of how widespread damage is to Tonga and the chances of another eruption.

Professor Cronin said while there won’t be another large-scale event anytime soon, there will be ‘follow-ups’.

“After such a fundamental change and an enormous eruption, we wouldn’t expect there to be an ongoing big event but we would expect there to be sort of follow-ups or small scale eruptions because there’s always a bit of magma left behind and there’s always a little bit of residual heat,” Professor Cronin.

This story was originally published at RNZ Pacific on 26 May 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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