Tonga Tsunami Wreaks Havoc

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Erin Nicholson, Writer

Sonoma Valley awoke on Jan. 16 with notice of a tsunami warning for the entire west coast region. This was a result from the underwater volcano that erupted near Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. 

According to CBS News, there were reports of flooding in Santa Cruz, and evacuations around the Berkeley Marina. Though Sonoma Valley wasn’t directly affected by the tsunami warnings, it was quite the surprise for families who had never experienced such an event before. 

SVHS students were surprised by the alert, but some were completely unaware of the situation all together. Genevieve Smith, sophomore, shared that her family had gone to Baker Beach in San Francisco that morning with no knowledge of the warning. 

Smith added that they “saw groups of people taking videos and watching the ocean closely, but it seemed like normal behavior of tourists.” 

Sam Richards, senior, had a different experience. He intended to visit the Santa Cruz area with family, but was forced to postpone his plans. Richards did note that he was expecting to see “crazy huge waves,” but was disappointed to hear that most of the coast was not affected.

Several students at SVHS felt the same way–without having any prior experience with tsunami warnings, many were eager to see the large, overwhelming waves like the ones often portrayed in movies. The Bay Area is incredibly lucky to have not been terribly affected by this natural disaster. 

Though the west coast only suffered flooding and a few injuries, it is nothing compared to the lives and homes that were lost in Tonga. Communication as of now is currently cut off, and organizations are working tirelessly to send help for those communities. 

To help with relief efforts in Tonga, consider donating to the GoFundMe created by Tonga-based athlete named Pita Taufatofua. As of writing this article, they are less than half way to their goal of $1 million AUD. 

You can also look at the relief funds hosted by the Red Cross, CARE Australia, UNICEF, and Save the Children. All organizations will help to provide essentials, housing, counseling, and more to everyone affected by the disaster.