Tonga volcanic eruption: Lau update

Moce Island in southern Lau group was inundated by tidal waves caused by the volcanic eruption in Tonga. Photos: Jimilai Tareguci

A government vessel is expected to depart for Lau today taking Fiji government officials to survey the extent of the damage wrought as a result of the Tonga volcanic eruption over the weekend.

And one casualty has been reported on Lau. An elderly woman on the island of Moce, south of Lakeba, is believed to have suffered a heart attack as her village began to be buffeted by tidal waves.

Reports remain sketchy and no government officials in the Fijian capital Suva were in a position to confirm the report.

Islands Business understands Moce was severely impacted, with a number of damaged homes and several outdoor kitchenettes swept away.

The islands of Onoilau, which is the furthest Fijian island on its southern borders and the closest to Tonga, plus Vatoa, Lakeba, Vanuabalavu and Moala also reported some damage from the tidal waves caused by the Tonga volcanic eruption.

Vanuabalavu’s main hospital in Lomaloma was flooded with seawater and patients and staff have to be evacuated to higher grounds.

As the Fiji government scrambles to head out to Lau, Lau community representatives in Suva have launched a donation drive to compliment the government response.

People of Lau are being asked to assist with bottled water, personal protection equipment as in masks and sanitiser and food packs.