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Tongans clean up in wake of volcano and tsunami as Australia sends support

New images from Tonga show children playing among debris and locals cleaning up volcanic ash after a volcanic eruption caused a tsunami that claimed the lives of three people.

Images from Tonga show children playing among debris and locals cleaning up volcanic ash after the weekend undersea earthquake.

The underground eruption caused a tsunami that claimed the lives of at least three people.

Communication with Tonga has been limited since an undersea fibre-optic cable was broken when the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted at 3.10pm AEDT on Saturday, January 15.

The eruption caused a tsunami with waves of up to two metres in the capital Nuku'alofa, where the surging water damaged local buildings such as the Ha'atafu Beach Resort.

Clean-up begins

Children play among debris at Ha'atafu Beach Resort on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu as locals clean up on Monday, January 17. Picture: Ha'atafu Beach Resort, Facebook

Children play among debris at Ha'atafu Beach Resort on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu as locals clean up on Monday, January 17. Picture: Ha'atafu Beach Resort, Facebook

Children played among the debris, uprooted trees and damaged buildings were in photos upload to Ha'atafu Beach Resort's Facebook page this week.

"We received footages and photos of the devastation the tsunami has caused. Ha'atafu Beach Resort is now unrecognisable and it's a miracle everyone got out to safety," the post was captioned.

Local journalist Marian Kupu said locals are hoping for rain to wash away volcanic ash that is covering buildings, roads, vehicles and vegetation across Tonga.

"We won't be expecting heavy rain until the next five days as the weather predicts. As of now, we are hoping for rain but unfortunately we won't have rain," Ms Kupu said on a Facebook livestream.

"So we will be with all this dust for a few more days."

Internet is down in Tonga but Ms Kupu's office at Broadcomfm Broadcasting has a satellite, which allows her to post pictures and videos on Facebook to keep people updated.

Some of Ms Kupu's photos show volcanic ash blanketing the landscape, locals cleaning up, severely damaged buildings and large areas with debris strewn across the ground.

Australia sends support 

Australia has pledged $1 million for the recovery effort in Tonga, which includes two RAAF flights carrying supplies and communications equipment sent to the Pacific nation on Thursday.

The supplies include shelter, hygiene kits, PPE for people clearing ash, water containers and other items to support immediate needs.

HMAS Adelaide will also set sail from Brisbane on Friday with water purification equipment and more humanitarian supplies.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said the overall objective of aid is to help displaced people and restore communications.

"We are working with Tonga to help restore international communications, including by delivering portable satellite equipment, so Tongan communities in Australia and across the Pacific can contact their families and loved ones," Ms Payne said in a statement.

Three deaths confirmed

British national Angela Glover, 50, who started the Tonga Animal Welfare Society died in the tsunami on Saturday. Picture: Angela Glover, Facebook.

British national Angela Glover, 50, who started the Tonga Animal Welfare Society died in the tsunami on Saturday. Picture: Angela Glover, Facebook.

Tonga's government has so far confirmed three fatalities in its first official update, which was released on Tuesday.

The prime minister's office confirmed the deaths of a 65-year-old woman on Mango Island and a 49-year-old man on Nomuka Island, in addition to a British national. A number of injuries were also reported.

The British national was Angela Glover, 50, who started the Tonga Animal Welfare Society.

The Tongan navy had deployed with health teams and water, food and tents to the outlying Ha'apai islands, with more aid sent on Tuesday due to the severity of the damage observed on Mango, Fonoifua and Namuka islands, it said.

All the houses were destroyed on Mango island, only two houses remained on Fonoifua, and Namuka island had extensive damage, it said.