Апреля 24, 2018

Tonga: Cyclone Gita leaves trail of destruction

16 Февраля 2018, 06:14 | Rodolfo Quinn

A massive clean-up operation is now underway following the passage of the major tropical system which ripped through the south Pacific

A massive clean-up operation is now underway following the passage of the major tropical system which ripped through the south Pacific

The Pacific nation of Tonga began cleaning up damage Tuesday from a cyclone that destroyed its Parliament House, as well as homes and churches, and was intensifying as it headed toward nearby Fiji.

Desperate people boarded up their homes and stocked up on essential supplies while praying and hoping for the best before heading to the safety of emergency shelters.

The storm is now tracking towards Fiji's southern islands.

Tonga's main island of Tongatapu and the capital Nukualofa lost all power.

"We're communicating as well with government officials who serve in these islands".

Ms Salesa's parents were in Tonga when Cyclone Gita hit overnight.

"Overall, damages to infrastructure have been minimal, but reports are still coming at this moment and we should have a clearer overview of the situation in the next couple of hours".

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A strong wind warning remains in force for the rest of Fiji.

Initial assessments indicate 10 homes completely destroyed and 26 partially so.

The destruction of the cyclone left three people with serious injuries and 30 others with minor injuries in Tongatapu, Tongan Police spokeswoman Sia Adams said.

Gita is still under the influence of the sub-tropical ridge (elongated area) of high pressure, located to the south and is still being steered westward.

The roof of the Tongan Meteorological Building was ripped off, forcing updates to be deployed by radio.

Disaster management teams are working to gauge the extent of the damage both to the life and property. The winds were stronger than predicted, at 144 miles per hour, and ripped the roof off of the Tonga meteorological office, taking the national broadcaster off the air. However, Tonga's century-old parliament building is among the confirmed structural casualties. It is found east of Fiji and north of New Zealand.

A statement from the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that Australia and New Zealand were sending humanitarian aid to Tonga.

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