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Underwater Volcano

HELPING HANDS A worker stacks disaster-relief supplies sent by New Zealand to help the people of Tonga, on January 17. DILLON ROBERT ANDERSON—NEW ZEALAND DEFENSE FORCE/GETTY IMAGES

An underwater volcano erupted on January 15. It happened near Tonga. That’s an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The blast sent ash, gas, and soot about 12 miles above the ocean’s surface. It also triggered a tsunami. On Tonga’s main island, water levels rose nearly three feet in some areas. Most people were able to escape. Nearly all the homes were destroyed on at least three of Tonga’s islands.

At press time, the Tonga government reported three deaths. Officials were still studying the damage. Fatafehi Fakafanua is a political leader in Tonga. According to the New York Times, he said on social media that “Tonga needs immediate assistance to provide its citizens with fresh drinking water and food.”

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