No waves were sighted on Niuatoputapu after three large earthquakes were reported between Niuatoputapu and Samoa last night, said Sione Fo’iakau from Hihifo.
Sione, who is a contact person for Tonga Red Cross on the isolated outer island, told Matangi Tonga today via mobile phone that they are all well.
He was at a kava drinking party and did not feel the earthquakes that occured between 8:56pm and 9:48pm, but he was told later by his neighbours.
“I was at the kava club from around 8pm to midnight at Hihifo and we didn’t feel the earthquakes,” he said.
However, people who lived on higher grounds and on Tafahi told him that they felt the earthquakes but no waves were seen.
Sione said his neighbour told him that there was an announcement on radio from the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) in Nuku’alofa asking for the Government Representative or the Airport Manger on Niuatoputapu to contact them immediately because they were unable to get through on the mobile phones after the earthquakes.
“We began to worry after the radio announcement since we had all experienced the devastating tsunami in 2009. We didn’t leave for higher grounds but got our essential belongings together and continued to listen intently to the radio,” he said.
Sione said the Tonga Communications Corp. (TCC) landline on the island had not been restored since the 2009 tsunami.
“The only form of communication we have now is through the company’s UCALL mobile phones,” he said.
The only emergency communication the island has are satellite phones owned by TCC, and the LDS church, with radio transmission at the airport and MET office.
Tsunami of 30 September 2009
On 30 September 2009 a tsunami arrived in Niuatoputapu, following the Great Samoa-Tonga 8.1 doublet earthquakes, and reached 15-20+ metres sea level run-ups in both countries, causing death and destruction.