Australia and Oceania

First death in Tonga volcano blast as nation remains cut off

by David WILLIAMS / Andrew BEATTY SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — The first death from a massive underwater volcanic blast near the Pacific island nation of Tonga has been confirmed, as the extent of the damage remained unknown Monday. Tonga remained virtually cut off from the rest of the world, after the eruption crippled communications and stalled emergency relief efforts. It is two days since the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano exploded, cloaking Tonga in a film […]

Tonga cut off by volcanic blast, fears grow for coastal towns

by David WILLIAMS / Andrew BEATTY SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — The Pacific Island nation of Tonga was virtually cut off from the rest of the world Monday, after a massive volcanic blast that crippled communications and stalled emergency relief efforts. It is two days since the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano exploded, cloaking Tonga in a film of ash, triggering a Pacific-wide tsunami and releasing shock waves that wrapped around the entire Earth. But with phone […]

Tonga cut off by volcanic blast

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – Tonga was virtually cut off from the rest of the world Monday after a massive volcanic blast that crippled communications with the Pacific island nation, and experts warned internet connection may not be fully restored for weeks. It is two days since the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haa’pai volcano exploded, cloaking Tonga in ash, triggering a Pacific-wide tsunami and releasing shock waves that wrapped around the entire Earth. But still neighbouring countries and […]

‘Disappointed’ Djokovic says he will leave Australia

Novak Djokovic said Sunday he was “extremely disappointed” by Australia’s decision to deport him but he would comply and leave the country. Hours earlier, three judges at the Federal Court had unanimously dismissed the unvaccinated Serbian superstar’s last-gasp attempt to overturn the government’s cancellation of his visa. “I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” the 34-year-old world number one said in […]

Huge Tonga volcanic eruption caused ‘signifcant damage’

A massive volcanic eruption in Tonga that triggered tsunami waves around the Pacific caused “significant damage” to the island nation’s capital and smothered it in dust, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday. The eruption Saturday was so powerful it was recorded around the world, triggering a tsunami that flooded Pacific coastlines from Japan to the United States. The capital Nuku’alofa suffered “significant” damage, Ardern said, adding there had been no reports of injury […]

Volcanic eruption, earthquake rock Tonga, trigger tsunami threats in the South Pacific

by Alfred Acenas and Arianne Torres (EBC Hawaii-Pacific)   HONOLULU (Eagle News) – A powerful underwater volcanic eruption and 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook the Tonga Islands at 4:26am local time on Saturday, January 15. A tsunami warning was soon issued for all of Tonga by the island nation’s meteorological services agency. Local resident Dr. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau took to social media to post photographs of the volcano’s violent eruption and waves crashing ashore. He also described the […]

Tsunami waves crash ashore in Tonga after powerful eruption

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga, Jan 15, 2022 (AFP) – Large waves crashed ashore in Tonga Saturday after a massive volcanic eruption that was heard in neighbouring countries triggered the area’s second tsunami in as many days. “A 1.2 metre tsunami wave has been observed at Nukualofa,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology tweeted. The maximum tsunami wave recorded following Friday’s explosion was 30 centimetres. The latest eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano came just a few hours after […]

Australian town hits record high temperature of 50.7C

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A remote town in Western Australia has equalled the country’s hottest day on record, reporting a scorching 50.7 degrees Celsius (123.26 degrees Fahrenheit), the Bureau of Meteorology said. Such temperatures could become commonplace in Australia due to global warming, the country’s Climate Council warned. The coastal town of Onslow hit the blistering high on Thursday afternoon. “NEW Western Australian maximum temperature record and equal National temperature record!” the state’s Bureau of […]

5.9-magnitude quake hits off eastern Papua New Guinea: USGS

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off eastern Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the United States Geological Survey said. The quake hit at a depth of 19 kilometres (12 miles) at 0205 GMT in the Solomon Sea, around 200 km off the southern coast of New Britain island, according to the USGS. There were no immediate reports of damage or tsunami warnings. Papua New Guinea sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a hotspot […]

Novak Djokovic’s Australia controversy timeline

World number one Novak Djokovic has languished in a Melbourne detention centre since Thursday morning after having his Australian visa cancelled over his Covid-19 vaccine status. The 34-year-old, who is hoping to defend his Australian Open title and win a record 21st Grand Slam title, faces being deported if he loses a court appeal scheduled for Monday. AFP looks at how the drama, which has reverberated around the world, has unfolded: Tuesday, January 4 — […]

Australia’s Omicron surge drives infections record, testing rush

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – Australia reported a record daily tally of nearly 50,000 Covid-19 cases Tuesday as the Omicron variant raced through the population and sent people scrambling for tests. While the Omicron surge has apparently left relatively few dangerously ill, it has driven a rush on increasingly scarce self-administered rapid antigen kits and created hours-long queues at centres providing more reliable PCR tests. Australia had successfully suppressed infections for much of the pandemic through […]

Australia fights bushfires in west, floods in east

MAGARET RIVER, Australia (AFP) — Australia battled twin natural disasters Friday, with bushfires cutting through a picturesque west coast region, while serious flooding and heavy rains lashed the country’s east. After weeks of high temperatures, fires flanked the western tourist hotspot of Margaret River — famed for its fine wine and big surf. No homes have been damaged or injuries reported, but flames have been seen over a wide area, sending smoke billowing high into […]