‘I miss home so much’: Those with Tonga connections worry as country struggles with aftermath of eruption, tsunami

  • Courtesy photo Maata Fakasieiki poses in May 2020, shortly after graduating with a degree in biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

  • courtesy photo Katrina Pahulu, daughter of Associate Pastor Malachi Pahulu of Hilo United Methodist Church stands at a church doorway in this undated photo.

  • This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano in Tonga on Jan. 6, prior to its eruption on Jan. 15. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP, File)

  • This satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows an undersea volcanic eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga on Jan. 15, 2022. (NICT via AP)

  • This combination of satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Nomuka in the Tonga island group on Aug. 17, 2020, left, and Jan. 20, 2022, right, showing the damage after the Jan. 15 eruption. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

When an explosive volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami in Tonga just over two weeks ago, homes were destroyed, communication lines disabled, and a heavy blanket of ash deposited on towns and villages.