SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Tongans living in Utah are waiting anxiously to hear about what happened in their home country.
It’s been two days since a volcano erupted causing a tsunami to hit the Pacific nation’s main island.
Melini and Pasa Tukuafu said they have many family members living on Tonga’s main island and they last spoke to them on Friday.
“I usually call my sister every day,” said Melini.
Melini said she called her sister Saturday, Sunday and Monday but the phone doesn’t even ring.
It is silent.
She said she keeps trying to get ahold of her but knows it won’t work because the internet and phone line are out.
“For now, there is no communication, just like everybody else on the island their family on the outside is worried about them,” said Melini.
Communication is gone along with homes and businesses.
More than 70,000 Tongans are in crisis mode.
“This is basically an atomic bomb type of eruption,” said Pasa.
The video speaks for itself.
A huge volcanic blast was followed by three to four foot tsunami waves crashing into the island Saturday morning.
“I am very concerned,” said Pasa. “I am kind of distraught with how do you move forward.”
The Tukuafu’s said they, like their brothers and sisters in Tonga, are focused on the aftermath.
“The Tongan people are resilient,” said Pasa. “They are people of faith. They rely on their faith. They are God-fearing and they pray a lot.”
Pasa, who like the rest of his family, is a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also one of 16 siblings.
He and his wife said the last time they talked to their family was Friday.
“We just kind of encourage them to be strong,” said Melini.
The Tukuafu’s said the hardest part is not being able to hear their family’s voices and add they know the family is intact, but their whole way of life is shattered.
At this point, they said it’s not even worth sending food or water because it could take months to get to the island nation.
Tonga is almost 6,000 miles away from Utah.
They suggested Tongans here in Utah and around the world pray for love and healing.