TONGA HAS BEEN STRUCK WITH A VIOLENT TROPICAL CYCLONE
A violent category 4 tropical cyclone Gita has stuck Tongatapu and is known to be the most powerful and frightening than any other cyclone in 60 years. Many residents of Tonga have evacuated the island refusing to risk their lives as it ripped roofs from houses and flattened them to the ground, caused widespread flooding and put many lives in danger. Gita packed sustained winds of 230 kmh, gusting to 278kmh according to NASA. New Zealand is donating $750,000 for relief as many residents have been injured and major buildings have been severely damaged, including the parliament. Emergency authorities stated that 70% of the population had been affected and food and water would be an immense issue. There have been no reports of deaths.’
Sione Taumoefolau, the secretary general of the Red Cross in Tonga said “At this stage, we have found no reports of casualties and only minor injuries, so I think we can be grateful for that. But we do not have good information on the outer islands, so we will have to wait and see what we find today. It was a frightening night, the entire house was shaking.”
Mary Fonua, the managing editor of Matangi Tonga the online news website, remained awake overnight in her family home, watching the windows blow out and solar panels being pulled and ripped out from the roof. “The wind was terrifying, it was tearing over head and we could hear roofs being lifted. Amazingly, emergency services were still going out,”
At 2:00pm emergency relief supplies were sent to depart from New Zealand this afternoon according to TVNZ News, providing shelter kits, tarpaulins, jerry cans, and hygiene kits.
2:10pm: The National Disaster Management Office in Fiji advised communities on the islands of Southern Lau, Vatoa Fulaga, Ono-i-Lau, Komo, Moce, Namuka-i-Lau, Oneata Lakeba, and other islands nearby to prepare for the powerful cyclone Gita.
Gita is intensifying and it is very likely to be a category 5 storm when it reaches Fiji’s southern Lau island group. Many are urged to evacuate if possible. Gusts have already reached more than 120kmh on Ono-I-Lau reported by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.