Tonga hit by 6.2 magnitude quake two weeks after devastating volcanic eruption

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of Tonga, two weeks after the islands were devastated by a volcanic eruption.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake occurred at 6.40am on Thursday morning.

There were no immediate reports of damage on Tonga which experienced tsunami waves 15 metres high after the eruption on Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai earlier this month.

The epicentre of the strong quake was 136 miles northwest of Pangai, a town on the remote island of Lifuka, at a depth of 14.5 kilometres.

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It comes as British and Australian navy ships arrived on Wednesday to deliver aid after the tsunami which killed three and left many more missing.

The volcanic island north of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa was ‘obliterated’ in the eruption which was hundreds of times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

Several homes were completely destroyed by the subsequent tsunami or falling ash and the water supply was cut off due to fears about contamination.

There are still concerns that the amount of ash and emissions in the air poses a severe public health risk.

Sailors arriving from overseas have faced the challenge of helping deliver aid without spreading Covid to Tonga, which has so far only recorded one case throughout the entire pandemic.

The UK navy attempted to deliver bottled water, medical supplies and basic sanitation products without making contact with anybody ashore, using cranes.

The remote archipelago was cut off for five days after the eruption as the only internet cable that connects Tonga to the outside world was severed in the explosion.

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