Aerial and satellite photos released publicly on Tuesday (January 18) show Tonga covered by a thick layer of volcanic ash following a deadly massive undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami over the weekend, NBC News reports.
The blast sent waves across the ocean to Japan and Peru, which caused an oil spill and two drownings, and could be heard as far away as Alaska, leading to tsunami warnings on the United States’ West Coast.
Plumes of smoke, ash and gas rose above the South Pacific, which left a large mushroom could visible in satellite photos taken of the scene.
International phone lines and internet service are still down as of Tuesday, which makes it difficult to confirm the total death toll in relation to the incident.
Local government officials confirmed at least three people died in relation to the eruption including a British woman living on the Pacific island nation who ran an animal rescue and was swept away by waves of up to 50 feet, was well as a 65-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man, according to a statement obtained by NBC News.
Officials fear the death toll could rise as water supplies and international aid operations are limited due to the extensive damage.
Additionally, the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant has also caused concerns during rescue efforts.