Pita Taufatofua flag bearing at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Pita Taufatofua’s father has returned home after he disappeared following a tsunami which affected Tonga on Saturday (January 15).

The taekwondo athlete, who became famous for his shirtless flag bearing at the last four Olympics, said he had not received communication of his relative’s whereabouts after the eruption of the underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai - an underwater volcano.

Taufatofua announced on social media that his father had arrived back safe "sunburnt and tired" from his "adventure."

"He hasn’t been seen or heard from since the tsunami and just walked into our family home in Haapai at everyone’s shock this afternoon," Taufatofua wrote on Twitter.

"Turns out straight after the tsunami he boarded the Navy boat heading out to Haapai (as the Governor of Haapai) to help.

"He was working in rescue and first response with the Navy at the ripe young age of 74 and saw first hand all the destruction.

"He then got off at one of the devastated outer islands to survey and assist out while the navy ship headed back to Tonga."

The 38-year-old begun a campaign to raise $1 million (£740,000/€885,000) to aid the struggling population to recover from the disastrous event.

On GoFundMe, which has so far raised an excess of $724,000 (£536,000/€640,000), Taufatofua said a team is operational on the ground in Tonga while he trains to compete in the cross-country skiing at Beijing 2022.

"In the coming days, weeks we will need your help. Initial priority for the funds will go towards those most in need, infrastructure and damage to schools, hospitals etc," Taufatofua said.

"This is an ongoing fundraiser and will be updated regularly. Your assistance and support in this time of need is greatly appreciated."

More than 80 per cent of Tonga has reportedly been affected by the tsunami and ash with three deaths being reported.

Tonga’s main island is located just 60 kilometres north of the volcano.

Nasa labelled the volcanic eruption dramatically more powerful than the atomic bomb the United States used on Hiroshima during World War Two.

Humanitarian aid has been ongoing from foreign countries as well as additional work to help relocate families.