AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Pacific Area, based out of New Zealand, says it is ramping up efforts to help those impacted by Saturday’s volcanic eruption and tsunami in the South Pacific.
Photos posted on the organization’s newsroom page show the ocean flooding the Kingdom of Tonga’s capitol city of Nuku’alofa, as the tsunami was triggered by the massive underwater eruption, which could be seen from space.
“Sending all of our love and prayers to Tonga and other island nations affected at this time,” reads the post on Pacific Area Facebook site. “If you have family or friends, loved ones affected by the terrible circumstances there, know that area and global support and leadership is organizing aid as we speak.”
The Pacific Area’s website says communication lines are down in Tonga, and promises updated information as it comes in.
Meanwhile, media in New Zealand are reporting that its government stands ready to help Tonga if asked.
The underwater volcano is located in the Kingdom of Tonga, which seemed to bear the brunt of the tsunami, although there are reports of damage from New Zealand all the way to Santa Cruz, California, where lifeguards rushed to evacuate surfers who were in the middle of a competition, and where rising waters resulted in severe flooding.
According to a post on the website https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/ 63.5% of the Tongan population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, making it the country with the highest percentage of Church members worldwide.