Full extent of damage from Tonga volcano eruption, tsunami still not clear

The view of Nomuka, Tonga, after the Jan. 15 volcano eruption and tsunami.
(Image credit: New Zealand Defense Force via Getty Images)

Aerial photos taken by New Zealand Defense Force reconnaissance flights show destruction on several of Tonga's outer islands, but officials warn that until communications are restored to all parts of the kingdom, it won't be entirely clear how much damage was caused by Saturday's undersea volcano eruption and subsequent tsunami.

Tonga is made up of more than 170 islands, and has a population of about 104,000. When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted early Saturday morning, it sent ash and steam into the air. Because there is still ashfall, all airports, even those that didn't sustain damage by the tsunami, are closed. This is hindering aid efforts, as planes carrying supplies from New Zealand and Australia aren't able to land. Officials are hopeful that Tonga's main airport, Fua'amotu International Airport, will be able to open on Wednesday.

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