Sound Like Bomb On Our Village

Children still live in fear, cry when they hear loud noise, say Lau villagers.
24 Jan 2022 12:42
Sound Like Bomb On Our Village
Kelera Karavaki with her 6-year-old son at Lomaloma Village in Vanuabalavu on January 22, 2022. Photo: Wati Talebula-Nuku

It sounded like a bomb attack on our village.

This was how Joeli Lidise, 65, and Kelera Karavaki of Lomaloma Village in Vanuabalavu, Lau described the volcanic eruption in Tonga.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

It caused a sonic boom that was heard across multiple countries, triggered a tsunami and spewed a column of ash into the air.

“There was fear and panic in theyes of fellow villagers,” Mr Lidise said.

“Children still cry today when they hear a loud noise.

“They live in fear.”

Mr Lidise was cutting grass at my compound when he heard sounds which he thought was an attack at his village.

Mr Lidise ran towards the sound in the hope of saving anyone he could find.

He described the sound as a bomb sound.

“When I heard the sound, I ran towards it thinking that our village was attacked and the first thing I wanted to do was save anyone. I looked around and saw that everyone was surprised as I am,” Mr Lidise said.

“Houses were shaking, and people ran out as we all had no idea what was happening. The panic could be seen on the faces of men and women as they looked at each other with questioning eyes.

“The sound seemed so near and a few minutes after the sound wave came into the village. I could see fear in everyone’s face as the women grabbed their children as their protective instinct kicked in.”

“This is the first time we have experienced something like this, and it was so frightening. People living by the beach all went to the hill to sleep that night. The good thing was that it happened during the day because if it happened during the night, it would totally be a different story.

“Until today when the children hear sound, they cry, and they started shaking. The effect could still be seen on their children, and I hope it goes away soon.”


An unforgettable experience:

Kelera Karavaki, 37 of Namalata Village in Vanuabalavu said it was an experience she would never forget.

“When it happened, I was at home. The Thunder was loud and we were afraid. We were travelling by dinghy to go to our village when we could see the first big wave and I told my husband to be fast so that we could reach the shore.

“I thought we would drown and the thoughts of my three children with us were so frightening. I hugged them and prayed to God to protect us.

“We were lucky that the first wave was not as strong as the second one. When the second wave came it took us into the village ground and we were lucky that we were nearby.

“When the second wave went back, and we got off and was at the village hall, we talked about how we would have died on that day. We are so blessed that no one was hurt or died.”




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