The first aerial photos of Tonga to be taken after it felt the full force of the world’s biggest volcanic eruption in decades show the Pacific nation covered in a thick blanket of black ash. The Guardian reports the New Zealand Defense Force shot around 40 images for the Tongan government that were then leaked online. Some of the snaps showed some minor damage such as ash covering rooftops and scattered debris, but other areas appear to have fared much worse. Photo annotations note that some areas sustained “catastrophic” damage with Atata Island noted to have “a large number of buildings missing. Remaining structures probably had flood damage. Multiple trees were uprooted, with debris throughout.” On Fonoifua Island, the New Zealand Defense Force recorded “extensive damage… with all but the largest buildings destroyed or severely damaged.” Tonga was cut off from the rest of the world after the eruption on Saturday after shockwaves broke the nation’s main communication cable.
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