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Tonga volcano: An explosion, then a rain of ash and rocks

Local journalist describes moment of eruption, ongoing water shortage

Buildings damaged by the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga. Much of the capital Nuku'alofa remains covered in ash. (Photo courtesy of Marian Kupu/Broadcom Broadcasting FM87.5/via Reuters)

SYDNEY -- Radio journalist Marian Kupu was spending a quiet Saturday evening at home with her husband, three children, mother and niece in Tonga's capital when a volcanic eruption heard as far away as New Zealand and Alaska shattered the silence.

"The first thing we heard was the explosion," Kupu told Nikkei on Thursday. After the blast, "we couldn't hear anything because our ears were ringing," she said. "And that's when we started [signaling to] each other just to run for safety, just to evacuate."

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