Tonga is hit by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake just weeks after huge volcanic eruption and tsunami devastated the islands

 Tonga has been rocked by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake, just weeks after a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami. 

The quake struck 130 miles west of the island of Lifuka around 7.40pm local time on Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said.Lifuka is part of the low-lying Haʻapai Islands chain which was hard-hit in the Hunga-Tonga eruption, with several of the islands seeing all their buildings swept away in the subsequent tsunami.

There was no immediate word on damage from Thursday's earthquake, with communications in the region still badly disrupted after the eruption severed an underwater internet cable that is still being repaired. 

However, the National Weather Service located in nearby American Samoa said no tsunami had been caused - meaning any damage is likely to be limited. 

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck an area of the Pacific Ocean located around 130 miles from the island of Lifuka, which forms part of Tonga

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck an area of the Pacific Ocean located around 130 miles from the island of Lifuka, which forms part of Tonga

Tonga is still recovering from the violent eruption of the Hunga-Tonga volcano, which occurred on January 14 and devastated the Pacific island nation.

The volcano, which is mostly submerged underwater with only the peak visible above the waves, blew its top late in the evening - an explosion that was visible from space and heard in New Zealand, some 1,400 miles away.

The blast completely destroyed the top of the volcano and triggered a 50ft tsunami that smashed into Tonga's islands, causing widespread destruction.

Mango and Fonoifua islands, in the Haʻapai chain, were two of the worst hit - with almost all buildings swept away and survivors left living under tarpaulins. 

Officially, the death toll from the eruption stands at six people though more are feared as authorities evacuate outlying islands and take stock of who is missing.

A huge international aid operation is now underway, with British and Australian navy ships arriving Wednesday. 

Britain said its ship the HMS Spey arrived with 30,000 liters of bottled water, medical supplies for more than 300 first aid kits, and basic sanitation products. 

Tonga is still recovering from a devastating volcanic blast and tsunami which blanketed the islands in ash and triggered a tsunami

Tonga is still recovering from a devastating volcanic blast and tsunami which blanketed the islands in ash and triggered a tsunami

The official death toll from the Tongan eruption now stands at six, though is expected to rise further once the government has fully taken stock of the damage

The official death toll from the Tongan eruption now stands at six, though is expected to rise further once the government has fully taken stock of the damage

Widespread damage is seen on the island of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga, following the earthquake and tsunami which struck on January 14

Widespread damage is seen on the island of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga, following the earthquake and tsunami which struck on January 14

It said none of its sailors disembarked the ship, and instead moved the supplies ashore by crane.

'The U.K. is a long-standing partner of the Pacific islands, and having the ship deployed in the Indo-Pacific meant that we could be there for Tonga in their hour of need, as the island begins to rebuild their homes and communities,' said the Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey in a statement.

The Australian government said its ship had completed the 2,050-mile voyage from Brisbane and would deliver supplies without contact with the local population to avoid infections.

'We appreciate the decision of the government of Tonga to enable HMAS Adelaide to dock and offload the humanitarian and medical supplies, and the high priority it has placed on COVID safety throughout the recovery process,' the statement said. 

'The ship is undertaking an entirely contactless delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies.'  

Meanwhile, the U.S. announced it would provide an additional $2.5million in humanitarian assistance to Tonga through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The aid was in addition to an initial pledge of $100,000.

HMAS Adelaide, an Australian naval ship on a humanitarian mission, is shown docked at Nuku'alofa - the capital of Tonga - on Thursday

HMAS Adelaide, an Australian naval ship on a humanitarian mission, is shown docked at Nuku'alofa - the capital of Tonga - on Thursday

Workers unload pallets filled with Australian aid at the main airport in Tonga, as a huge international humanitarian effort continues

Workers unload pallets filled with Australian aid at the main airport in Tonga, as a huge international humanitarian effort continues

With restoration of the drinking water supply a major priority, the ship brings a desalination plant. It's also carrying helicopters and engineering equipment.

Australia said it was widening its disaster support to include restoration of power and communications.

Under pandemic measures, Tonga typically requires visitors to quarantine for three weeks on arrival and that complicates the international disaster response. All international aid is to be delivered without local contact.

Tongan authorities have been wary that accepting international aid could usher in a bigger disaster than the huge eruption of the volcano. The tsunami killed three people.

The ship is the second aid mission from Australia in which at least one crew member tested positive. A C-17 Globemaster military transport plane was earlier turned around midflight after a person aboard was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

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