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Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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A tsunami hit Tonga, sending terrified residents to flee the ground as huge waves crashed into properties and volcanic ash rained down from the sky, as people were warned to get out of the water as far as Fiji.

A ‘violent’ underwater volcanic eruption at 5.10pm local time on Saturday was confirmed as the reason for the tsunami, which submerged properties, buildings, fences, roads and automobiles in Tonga about 20 minutes later .

Residents pleaded for people to ‘pray for us’ as the eruption was comparable to ‘bomb blasts’, followed by the tsunami rolling onto the shore.

One lucky survivor has told of the horror of seeing her neighbour’s house collapse as she sat with her family for dinner.

Another man revealed how he desperately fled the rising torrent while carrying his grandmother to the roof of their house.

The volcano can very well be heard thousands of miles away and has triggered warnings in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa.

A tsunami has hit Tonga, sending terrified residents fleeing for excessive soil as huge waves crash over roads and properties (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal properties in Tonga on Saturday)

Dramatic footage confirmed huge waves breaking over populated islands in the Tonga archipelago hours after the eruption.

The Tonga Meteorological Service issued the tsunami warning for the main island of Tongatapu on Saturday evening as sirens sounded throughout the capital, Nukuʻalofa.

There have also been reports of volcanic ash falling at Nukuʻalofa.

A local girl, Mere Taufa, was cooking dinner for her family when the biggest eruption rocked her house.

“It was huge, the bottom was shaking, our house was shaking. It came in waves, my younger brother thought there were bombs going off nearby,” Taufa told stuff.co.nz.

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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Residents have taken to social media to share dramatic footage of crashing waves coming ashore and crashing through homes and cars (pictured, but footage from a video filmed in Tonga and posted to social media Saturday)

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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Dramatic official aerial maps confirmed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite TV for PC footage of the volcanic eruption in the ocean Pacific Saturday)

She said the house soon filled with water and she noticed the walls of a neighbour’s house were washed away.

“You might just hear screams in every location, individuals screaming for safety, for everyone to get to bigger grounds.”

Another contrived a soaring escape by carrying his grandmother across the roof to the roof of their Nuku’alofa dwelling.

Tevita Sailosi said she was in shock after hearing the explosion.

“We heard screams, people helped where they could. We also heard chanting, which lifted our spirits a bit. We just hope everyone else is protected in the marketplace,” he said.

While the initial danger subsides, there are currently serious humanitarian problems, as the shelters set up and the residents displaced in their homes “run out of food”.

A person who watched the New Zealand High Commission go underwater said a young boy confirmed he got soaked without knowing what happened to his family after fleeing the tsunami.

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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The tsunami in Tonga (pictured on the map) was triggered by an underwater volcano

Emergency warnings in Tonga ordered residents to urgently maneuver to an upper floor.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted Friday, sending particles, ash and gasoline 20 kilometers into the air.

The eruption plunged the country’s most important islands into darkness on Friday.

But Saturday’s chaos came from a much larger second eruption.

It is located about 30 kilometers southeast of the island of Fonuafo’ou in Tonga and has erupted several times in recent weeks.

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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The Tonga Meteorological Service issued the tsunami warning for the main island of Tongatapu on Saturday evening as sirens sounded throughout the capital, Nukuʻalofa. Pictured: The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupts on Friday

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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A day earlier, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Friday, sending particles, ash and gasoline 20 kilometers into the air (pictured)

The eruption also prompted tsunami warnings for Fiji and American Samoa, located 804 and 936 kilometers from Tonga.

In Fiji, the Department of Mineral Resources has warned individuals to “stay out of water and away from shore”.

One man wrote on social media: “We are staying in Kolomotu’a near the sea so we have already left and are in our cars heading to site visitors on every highway.”

“Please pray for us as a home and security.”

An American group of storm watchers experienced the film, which quickly went viral online, “probably the most violent volcanic eruptions ever recorded on PC satellite TV”.

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Friday and once again on Saturday (pictured, waves pound Tongan properties on Saturday night after Saturday’s eruption)

Tongans flee for their lives as tsunami hits island nation after underwater volcano erupts

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