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Tsunami warning in Tonga as volcano erupts

An underwater volcano near the Pacific kingdom of Tonga has erupted again, triggering a tsunami alert and forcing people indoors.

Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, which formed after an undersea eruption in December 2014, erupted on Friday, sending ash, steam and gas 20km into the air.

People were advised to stay indoors, protect drinking water, and wear masks when outside, Tonga Geological Services (TGS) said.

The volcano was erupting intermittently in late December, but Friday’s eruption was about seven times more powerful than the last eruption and continuing to grow, TGS said.

The service also warned of the possibility of acid rain as a result of the eruption.

Small tsunami waves of up to 30 centimetres had been recorded following the eruption, the Tonga Meteorological Office said.

The volcano is located about 2000km northeast of New Zealand.

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