Two people drowned by abnormally high waves in Peru after Tonga volcano

FILE PHOTO: A plume rises over Tonga when the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai erupted in this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency, on January 15, 2022 and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and obtained by Reuters on January 16, 2022. National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)/Handout via REUTERS

LIMA (Reuters) – Two people drowned off a beach in northern Peru, the local civil defense authority reported on Sunday, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas following Saturday’s eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga in the Pacific Ocean.

The death of two people by drowning occurred on Saturday on a beach located in the Lambayeque region, Peru’s National Institute of Civil Defense (Indeci) said in a statement.

The underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, prompting tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing huge waves on several South Pacific islands, where images on social media show waves crashing against homes on the shores.

More than 20 Peruvian ports were temporarily closed as a precautionary measure amid warnings that the volcano was causing abnormally high waves, Indeci said.

The Peruvian police said on Twitter that the two victims were found dead by officers from a Naylamp beach police station. The tweet said “the waves were abnormal” in the area and that it had been declared unsuitable for bathers.

TV images showed several homes and businesses flooded by seawater in coastal areas in northern and central Peru.

The Peruvian Navy had reported that a tsunami alert was ruled out for the Pacific Coast country.

In Japan, hundreds of thousands of people were advised to evacuate on Sunday as waves of more than a meter hit coastal areas, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The footage on social media showed large waves crashing into coastal homes in several South Pacific islands.

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