Tupou's house destroyed in Cyclone Gita

Posted February 16, 2018

Digicel Regional CEO Pacific, Colin Stone, said "Our thoughts are with the people of Tonga and we are deeply saddened by and concerned about the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita that hit Tonga last night". There are 176 islands in the Kingdom of Tonga, with only 40 inhabited, and officials fear the damage could be even worse in the more isolated islands, where information is slow to come out.

"Right now we have lost all communications with the island (s)".

He said they will finalize their assessment of the whole electricity network today after Cyclone Gita caused widespread damage on Tongatapu and 'Eua.

"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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"Close to 1000 homes have been damaged, and there are certainly a number that are uninhabitable and the Government will be looking to provide shelter for the time being".

Damages in Tonga after TC Gita.

There have been no confirmed deaths from the storm, although Tongan police said three people had suffered major injuries and another 30 suffered minor injuries.

The winds which peaked at 230km/h flattened parts of Parliament House and levelled dozens of homes, churches and powerlines.

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Fiji Red Cross prepare for Tropical Cylone Gita.

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

"I have never experienced anything like that", Tonga High School French teacher Virginie Dourlet said. "It was a terrifying night", Graham Kenna from the National Emergency Management Office told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The roof of Tonga's Parliament building was also destroyed.

The Prime Minister said they have signed off on $750,000 of relief for Tonga after Cyclone Gita hit. Heavy rain and strong winds could affect southern Vanuatu, New Caledonia and continue to affect the Western Division of Fiji over 13-16 February.

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