Residents are still reeling from the disastrous volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this month.

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On Friday, January 14th, an enormous underwater volcano erupted near the island nation of Tonga. This once-in-a-generation event caused smoke to spread across the sky and set off disastrous tsunamis.

During the time of the eruption, this volcano "spewed gas and ash up 12 miles into the atmosphere and set off an atmospheric shockwave that traveled at about 1,000 feet per second," according to Smithsonian Magazine and BBC reporters. 

Officials confirmed that the eruption from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano caused the death of three individuals and left several others injured. The Tongan Prime Minister stated that the homes of 36 people on the island of Mango have been destroyed.

On Thursday, January 20th, six whole days after the eruption first aid shipments have finally arrived in Tonga. As reported by KWWL,  the one fiber optic cable that communication on the island relies on has most likely been damaged or severed.  Authorities are working quickly trying to get phone lines reconnected so residents can contact family and friends that avoided the blast.

More than 100,000 people are currently dealing with the aftermath of the eruption's debris and dangerous conditions. One of those people is a Waverly native.

Barb Corson of Waverly lost contact with her daughter, Carolyn over the weekend, as reported by KWWL. Usually, the mother-daughter pair communicate with each other daily.  Corson was chatting with her daughter on Friday evening over Snapchat during the volcano's eruption.

Carolyn was sending her videos and photos of the ordeal, but then all of a sudden those messages stopped.

Carolyn is an Iowa native and moved to Tonga after graduating from Central College several years ago. The young woman decided to join the Peace Corps and ended up teaching at a Christian school in Tonga.


In March of 2020, she had to come back to the United States. Last summer she was given the opportunity to go back to the island country since she was a teacher. She reconnected with her boyfriend (a resident of Tonga), and the two quickly got married.

The Waverly mother went several days without hearing from Carolyn. Luckily, thanks to a Facebook group called "Friends of Tonga" and a few helpful locals, she was able to figure out the status of her daughter.

You can check out the full story that KWWL journalists were able to put together about this mother-daughter duo.

Luckily, Carolyn is staying safe following the eruption.

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