Peru – 2 Dead After Tonga Volcano Triggers Coastal Flooding

Two people have died in Peru after the eruption of an undersea volcano thousands of kilometres away off the coast of Tonga caused high waves along the Peruvian coast on 16 January 2022.

Volcano eruption in Tonga, 15 January 2022. Image: Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of Tonga

Peru’s National Civil Defence Institute (INDECI) reported high waves in the regions of La Libertad, Lambayeque, Lima, Ica and Arequipa. Twenty-two ports on the north and central coasts were closed and fishing activities suspended.

Buildings were damaged in the popular tourist area of Paracas, Ica Region and some locals and visitors were evacuated. INDECI said two people drowned in the high waves in the district of Lambayeque, located in the province and region of the same name.

Tonga Volcanic Eruption

The underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, located in the north of Tonga, erupted on 15 January 2022, sending a huge plume of ash into the sky. Phone connections and power were cut following the eruption, and full damage assessments are yet to be confirmed. It is thought the eruption triggered a tsunami with waves of around 1 metre in Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga, along with parts of Fiji and Samoa. As of early 17 January there were reports of possible further eruptions from the volcano.

Coastal flooding from high waves triggered by the volcanic eruption were also reported in Iquique in the Tarapacá Department of northern Chile, in areas of Amami-Oshima Island in Japan, parts of Santa Cruz and Port San Luis in California, USA and the Tutukaka Coast in New Zealand.

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