Cyclone Gita: worst storm in over 60 years destroys Tonga

Cyclone Gita: worst storm in over 60 years destroys Tonga

There will be aerial reconnaissance over the southern Lau group of islands to further assess damage later today and the government will mobilise soon to offer support for those affected.

"We have lost all our food, our plantation".

According to reports, Gita is the worst cyclone to pass along Tonga's main islands in 60 years because all communications were lost overnight as Gita ripped the roof off the Tonga meteorological office making the entire situation very hard for everyone.

Tonga's government declared a state of emergency before the storm hit, setting up evacuation centers which housed thousands of people overnight. "I think a lot of people were very desperate last night". There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.

About 80,000 people in Tonga, including 32,000 children, were at risk from Cyclone Gita, Unicef said.

"It's not only hit the boys in Tonga, but the Samoan boys and now I've heard it's heading to Fiji so it's great to have the club come behind us island boys - not just us but the place in general - and have a helping hand in that".

The water supply is expected to be fully functional by this evening says Tonga Water Board (TWB) Acting CEO, Kolopeaua Tonga, after Cyclone Gita destroyed the water pump shed located at Mata-ki-'Eua on Togatapu.

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The UK Met Office said the storm - which brought winds of more than 200km/h (124mph) - was the strongest to hit the main islands of Tonga since modern records began.

Fiji Red Cross prepare for Tropical Cylone Gita.

"I've been involved in disaster responses for 30-plus years and it's the worst situation I have been in", Kenna told Radio New Zealand.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it was on standby to provide help, including military assistance and humanitarian supplies.

Residents on low-lying islands said several homes were flattened and crops were wiped out when the cyclone pounded their villages.

Currently, 24 water pumps are working out of a total of 40 pumps and TWB workers are also inspecting water pipes around Nuku'alofa for leakages.

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