Bay Area Tongans desperate for news from home after eruption, tsunami

There are early reports out of New Zealand of significant damage to northern parts of the remote Pacific nation of Tonga, following that undersea volcanic eruption that triggered a tsunami advisory along the entire west coast.

Communication is still limited, so there are no official damage assessments.

In the Bay Area, Tongans are eagerly awaiting word on loved ones.

One woman, in particular, was actually on the phone with her mom when that eruption began.

That was the last time she had contact with her.

Tokemoana’s in Redwood City was serving up traditional Tongan comfort cuisine Sunday to local Tongans who can use all the comfort they can get as they wait to learn the fate of family and friends.

"Really we don't know.  We have no communication at all," said Ana Lyden.

Lyden, who splits her time between Utah and the Bay Area, showed us a picture of her mother’s birthday gathering on the island, taken just hours before the eruption and tsunami.

She was on the phone with family when it began, but hasn’t heard from them since.

"They had to hang up to save the battery because we were not sure if they were going to have enough for the night for us to call back.  But that was the last time."

Edward Michael and his family live in the Bay Area, but he has a dear friend in Tonga he’s desperately trying to reach.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah.  Every hour. Every hour.  I hope she's fine."

The undersea volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami that hit the remote nation.

The literal ripple effects were even seen here in the Bay Area, where places like Santa Cruz Harbor saw flooding.

There are early reports of damage to parts of the main island, and it’s not sitting well with Tongan’s here.

"I feel like nothing is good back on the island right now.  I don't know how they are going to have food, water," said Michael.

The Tongan community is close-knit and largely religious.

Right now, they are clinging to two things: each other, and their deep faith.

"One thing we know is we trust God.  God has us. We know that they're ok even though we don't know, but we trust God. That's the only thing that all Tongans have."

New Zealand has already sent a surveillance flight to assess the damage.

So far, there are no reports of injuries or loss of life.