Crying all night in a car on higher ground, a house destroyed, and a dog swept up into a tree by waves.
These are among stories from home trickling out to Tongan families in the Bay of Plenty.
A week ago, the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai erupted, cutting most communication lines to the island.
The erupting volcano, located about 65km north of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa, sent thick ash and steam 20km into the sky and created a devastating tsunami.
Families were initially unable to get through to loved ones, desperate to just hear their voices.
After countless failed calls and sleepless nights, Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust manager Mata Mafileo jumped when she saw a phone call coming from her mother in the early morning this week.
Then she cried.
Her mother told her of running outside after the first explosion at 5pm on Saturday, "afraid" and unsure what to do.
She and two friends got in a car and drove to higher ground, parked outside a building where others had congregated, some crying.
She told her daughter how it got unusually dark, and how they prayed and cried in their car.
"They said it felt like the end of the world."
Her mother spoke of the falling ash, and how it popped into dust once it made contact with something.
Mafileo said her mother was safe but her family was avoiding going outside and had been instructed to cover up as much as possible - hats, glasses, long sleeves.
She said the priority at the moment was drinking water.
Simione Vakasiuola, who lives in Katikati, managed to get through to his uncle and said it was "comforting" to hear his voice.
The call was not good quality and he believed this was because the lines were overloaded.
He said his uncle lost his home and other relatives' homes were damaged but Vakasiuola said there was a house where everyone could stay in the interim.
When the volcano explosions boomed, he said his family was "really scared and had no idea what to do".
When the water started moving, they ran to higher ground.
"They're struggling but surviving, that's all that matters."
He said he and his family in New Zealand were trying to figure out how they could help.
Lano Fonua lives in Tauranga and works as the Tongan international rugby team's manager. The rest of his family, except for his brother, remain in Tonga.
He works on a night shift and said he managed to reach his parents about 4am one day, and felt lucky to have been able to speak to them for nearly 40 minutes.
His dad had been working in the garden with earmuffs on and didn't hear the eruption, so was confused to see everyone running around when "the waves started coming".
Their house only had a road and seawall between it and the sea, but Fonua said "amazingly" there was no damage to the house.
"The worst thing was one of the dogs got swept out to the back of the house and had to hang out in a tree for a little while until it all died down and he could swim back," he said.
"They could see his little eyes in the bush at the back."
He said his parents were now cleaning up the "ash everywhere" and were fortunate to have a full water tank.
"I just want to get there ... living in Covid doesn't allow it right now."
Te Puke resident Suli Lea'aepeni said she was so relieved to have finally heard from her parents on Thursday night that they, her sister and other relatives were okay.
"It's such a relief to just hear my parents' voices. I couldn't even sleep properly for days until I knew Mum and Dad and my little sister were safe."
Lea'aepeni said her parents and sister were staying near the airport.
She said it was "heartbreaking" seeing the devastation in her homeland.
"Even if people's homes are okay, the major problem is the volcanic ash everywhere including in the water supply."
Lea'aepeni said her parents assured her they would be okay and not to send anything.
"But I really felt in my heart I must do something to help, so I've travelled to Auckland to buy water and other supplies, because I know they desperately need it."
Anne Leota, also living in Te Puke, said she still had not heard from any of her relatives in Tonga and was anxiously waiting for news they were all safe.
Leota's Tongan-born late husband Joe has a large extended family in Tonga, both in the village of Te'ekiu and other parts of the mainland, including Joe's sister who lives in Nuku'alofa on the mainland of Tongatapu.
"I absolutely still can't believe it. I keep going from 'it's absolutely awful' to 'this can't be happening'. It still feels so unreal. I can't sleep at night as my mind keeps playing over and over all those horrible news reports.
"It's like a nightmare. Seeing all the terrible images of destruction and the volcanic ash-covered buildings and streets is just heartbreaking."