Disasters & Accidents

SpaceX working to reconnect communication links to tsunami-hit Tonga

Sydney, Australia, Feb 7 (EFE).- A team from Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX is in Fiji to reestablish Tonga’s internet connection in the wake of last month’s tsunami, a Fijian official said Monday.

“The Hunga Tonga volcano’s shockwave shattered Tonga’s internet connection, adding days of gut-wrenching uncertainty to disaster assessments,” Fiji’s communication minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“A @SpaceX team is now in Fiji establishing a Starlink Gateway station to reconnect Tonga to the world.”

In tweets posted after the disaster, Musk admitted the difficulty that Starlink, which has launched some 2,000 satellites out of a target 12,000, would face in order to successfully accomplish this task.

On Jan. 15, a violent eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga caused a tsunami, with waves of up to 15 meters high, that severed an undersea telecommunications cable.

The lack of communication with Tonga caused great uncertainty about the situation in the wake of the natural disaster, which left three dead and affected 84 percent of its 105,000 inhabitants.

The company responsible for the undersea cable indicated that it will take weeks to fix the connection.

Starlink intends to create a constellation of satellites with the aim of providing broadband internet service and global coverage at low cost.

The Tongan authorities are keeping the main islands in lockdown until Jan. 20 after detecting its first local cases of Covid-19, now sitting at seven.

Tonga, which had only reported one imported case – in October 2021 – during the pandemic, implements strict border closures and enforces contactless delivery of humanitarian aid in response to the natural disaster.

Eighty-eight percent of the population is fully vaccinated, while 97 percent have received at least one dose, while trying to speed up the administration of booster doses. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button