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Covid-19 worry forces UN to prep tsunami-hit Tonga relief aid at a distance

Tonga is one of the few countries that is Covid-19 free and an outbreak there would disastrous, says international agency.

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Japan Meteorology Agency via AP)
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In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Japan Meteorology Agency via AP)

Reuters
The United Nations is preparing to carry out relief operations for Tonga at a distance to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak in the Pacific island nation reeling from a volcanic eruption and tsunami, an official said on Wednesday.

All the homes on one of Tonga's small outer islands have been destroyed and three people have died, the government said in its first statement after Saturday's devastating eruption which it called "an unprecedented disaster".

With communications badly hampered by the severing of an undersea cable, information on the scale of the devastation so far has mostly come from reconnaissance aircraft. Fiji-based United Nations co-ordinator

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First Published: Jan 19 2022 | 8:00 AM IST

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