The toll from the eruption of a huge undersea volcano in Tonga remains unclear with Australia and New Zealand sending surveillance flights to assess the damage.
- Tonga's High Commission in Australia said there had not yet been any official reports of injuries or deaths
- Authorities had not yet made contact with some coastal areas and smaller islands
- The tsunami caused significant damage to boats and shops along the Tongan coastline
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday prompted tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in neighbouring countries and caused huge waves on several South Pacific islands, where images on social media showed waves crashing against homes on the shores.
The eruption cut the internet to Tonga, leaving friends and family members around the world anxiously trying to get in touch to find out if there were any injuries.
Even government websites and other official sources remained without updates on Sunday afternoon.
The NZ Defence Force tweeted that an Orion aircraft left Auckland on Monday morning to assist in an initial impact assessment of the area and low-lying islands.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the Royal Australian Air Force "were undertaking surveillance activity over the affected area".
A surveillance plane and a C130 earlier took off from RAAF Base at Amberley in Queensland headed for Tonga.Loading
Later on Monday, Senator Payne announced the federal government would provide a $1 million humanitarian support package.
She said this was an initial payment which was requested by the island nation.
Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said Tonga's contact with the rest of the world had been disrupted by damage to an undersea cable.
"My understanding is that communications within Tonga are to some extent operating," he said.
"It's the international communications through the cable that was affected that is causing some difficulties."
He said Australia was preparing to send a significant amount of humanitarian aid and the HMAS Adelaide would likely also be deployed.Loading
The Tongan High Commission in Australia deputy head of mission, Curtis Tu'ihalangingie, said there had been no confirmed deaths so far.
Mr Tu'ihalangingie said they were sourcing their information through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"So far, we receive it's minimal damage to just the coastal site of the capital, and some parts of Tonga, the main island of Tongatapu, and so far we have not received a report of any death," he said.
However, authorities have not yet made contact with some coastal areas and smaller islands.
Mr Tu'ihalangingie said it was hoped communication would be restored with Tonga some time this week.