cleanup operation has begun in Tonga after island nation was hit by tsunami and covered in volcanic ash at weekend. The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai undersea volcano erupted on Saturday. Experts believe it was world's biggest volcanic eruption in over 30 years. It sent tsunami waves across Pacific to Japan and the U.S. coast. It also destroyed large parts of Tonga. Islanders are now trying to restore services and normal life to country. However, the ash is making this difficult. A lot of rescue and recovery work cannot go ahead until ash has been cleared. It has buried many buildings. It is also blocking many of country's roads.
Tonga's government called eruption from the volcano and tsunami "unprecedented". It said the twin disasters have severely affected life on island. There is no Internet because only underwater cable connecting Tonga to the World Wide Web was cut by the eruption. Engineers are trying to restore full communications. It is also difficult to fly aid into country because the airport is damaged. Tonga's government is worried that rescue efforts may bring COVID-19 into country. Tonga shut its borders to international arrivals in 2020. It said it was "covid-free" before tsunami. It now fears international aid workers could bring "tsunami of COVID-19" into the country.