‘I miss home so much’

  • courtesy photo Katrina Pahulu, daughter of Associate Pastor Malachi Pahulu of Hilo United Methodist Church stands at a church doorway in this undated photo.

  • courtesy photo Maata Fakasieiki poses in May 2020, shortly after graduating with a degree in biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Fakasieiki has been unable to return to her home in Tonga since her graduation because of the coronavirus pandemic, and communications with her family have been difficult since the devastating volcano eruption on Jan. 15.

  • This satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), shows an undersea volcano eruption, right, at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (NICT via AP)

  • FILE - This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano in Tonga on Jan. 6, 2022, before a huge undersea volcanic eruption. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP, File)

  • This combination of this satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Nomuka in the Tonga island group on Aug. 17, 2020, top and Jan. 20, 2022, bottom, showing the damage after the Jan. 15 eruption. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

When an explosive volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami in Tonga just over two weeks ago, homes were destroyed, communication lines disabled, and a heavy blanket of ash deposited on towns and villages.