Tonga volcano eruption: California shipping company plans relief supply mission to help, residents fear for safety of loved ones

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — New images show how ash blankets parts of Tonga after a massive volcanic eruption on Saturday triggered a tsunami.

Reuters reports that the ash is so heavy at the airport that planes carrying relief cannot yet land.

Supply ships are also on the way.

Two people have been confirmed dead, but communications from the island have been limited, so the true extent of the devastation is not yet known.

RELATED: Videos show flooding and damage after tsunami waves hit the Bay Area

Many Californians are always eager to hear from loved ones.

“It’s really tough, especially with your son there,” Liberty Latu said.

Latu, from Redwood City, is worried about her 11-year-old son, Gordon, who lives in Tonga. She hasn’t spoken to him since last Friday, hours before a huge underwater volcano erupted near the island nation.

The telephone and internet were cut off. Liberty needs to know if Gordon is okay.

“It’s really hard, I can’t sleep. I stay up and think about him,” Latu said.

Pastor Vaka Taimani of the First Tongan Church of San Carlos is also hoping to hear from friends and relatives in Tonga. He knows that food and water can be contaminated with volcanic ash.

“We pray for God to help them, the air they breathe is not pure,” Taimani said.

Seslia Langi Pahulu’s shipping company in Oakland is stepping up to help. SF Enterprises & Logistics will soon send two ships to Tonga filled with relief supplies, it is accepting donations from the public at its Mandella Parkway headquarters near the Port of Oakland.

“If anyone has general donations, I’ll stick to water, masks, relief goods and ship them out,” Pahulu said.

She says the supplies will eventually be distributed by the Tongan government.

RELATED: What to do if there is a tsunami watch or warning

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