Further tsunamis could occur around the Pacific Ocean after a large submarine volcano eruption on Saturday near Tonga has passed, according to surveillance groups.
On Sunday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said the threat had receded, but coastal areas should remain vigilant for strong or anomalous currents.
The United States and Japan have previously warned people to leave the coastal areas.
However, while further tsunamis are unlikely, there is growing concern about how badly Tonga was hit.
At a press conference on Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said boats and large rocks had washed ashore in Nuku’alofa, the capital of the island nation.
“Nuku’alofa is covered with a thick film of volcanic ash, but the rest of the conditions are mild and stable,” she added, with communication with small Pacific nations remaining very limited.
Ms. Ardan said New Zealand is preparing to send an Air Force reconnaissance plane to assess the magnitude of the damage on Monday morning.
So far, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga.
Also on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” about the potential damage and was ready to send support.
The eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai volcano, about 65 km (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, caused waves over a meter to hit the island.
Social media footage showed washing in the city’s churches and some homes.
Social media videos showed traffic jams when people tried to drive out of the lowlands.
One resident, Mare Taufa, said an eruption occurred while her family was preparing dinner, and her brother thought the bomb was exploding nearby.
New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz said, “My first instinct was to hide under the table. Grab her sister and ask her parents and others at home to do the same. I cried. “
Mr. Taufa said the next thing he learned was that water was flowing into their homes.
“I heard screams everywhere, people screamed for safety, and everyone was able to reach the hills,” she added.
According to the Tonga Geological Service, the gas, smoke and ash eruptions from the volcano reached 20 km in the sky.
Volcanic eruptions were heard throughout the South Pacific and eventually to the United States.
In Japan, a 1.2m tsunami was recorded late Saturday in the Kominato district of Amami Oshima, Kagoshima Prefecture.
According to officials in the capital city of Suva, the eruption for the first eight minutes was so intense that it was heard as a “big thunder” in Fiji, more than 800 km away.