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Underwater volcanoes, digital darkness, and the situation in Tonga

In this handout photo provided by the New Zealand Defense Force, an aerial view from a P-3K2 Orion surveillance flight of heavy ash fall on Nomuka, Tonga.
In this handout photo provided by the New Zealand Defense Force, an aerial view from a P-3K2 Orion surveillance flight of heavy ash fall on Nomuka, Tonga.

This weekend an underwater volcano erupted in the Pacific Ocean. That has blanketed the nearby island nation of Tonga in thick ash and cut it off from the rest of the world. At least three people are confirmed dead and aid is now on its way.

The blast severed the underwater fiber-optic cable that connects Tonga to the outside world. That means, days on from the disaster, that Tonga remains cloaked in digital darkness.

That’s left rescue teams and those with loved ones on the islands with satellite imagery showing the blast and the extent of the devastation.

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Rupert Allman