Fulau lived on Atata Island and was painting his home when the Hong Tonga-Hung Hapai volcano erupted last Saturday. Shortly thereafter, his brother warned him about the tsunami. He took refuge in a tree from the first wave, but a second and larger wave swept across Fulau.
Fulau told local broadcaster Broadcom Broadcasting in an interview that he was dragged away with several family members. “I heard my niece and my son call, but I didn’t answer because I didn’t want them to risk their lives for me,” Folau said. “I tried to survive, but I am physically restrained. My legs are not working well.”
Fulao grabbed the wreckage as he moved away from the ground. When the ocean calmed, he swam back to land, arriving at the main island of Tongatapu after a fine day. “I kept swimming thinking about my family.”
Five days later, a local journalist said, Fulau is still in shock. He also suffers from multiple scars on his face and body. When he talks about this, he gets very emotional.”
With a population of 60, it is one of the smallest islands in Tonga. The island was almost completely destroyed by the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami. Lifeguards in Tonga are working to move people from smaller islands to larger islands.
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