Tongans fear 'not seeing loved ones again'

Taumoepeau, who was born in Australia but grew up in Tonga, said she has "hundreds of close and extended family members in Tonga across multiple villages and towns".

Taumoepeau returned to Australia when she was eight but travels to Tonga every two years to visit her relatives.

She has yet to have any contact with any of them since the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted on Saturday (January 15), which cut the island nation's main undersea communications cable.

Tonga's small outer islands suffered extensive damage from the massive volcanic eruption and tsunami, with an entire village destroyed and many buildings missing, a Tongan diplomat said on Tuesday (January 18), raising fears of more deaths and injuries.

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