Tonga on 'long road to reconstruction' after Cyclone Gita

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

NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Gita as it continues to bring heavy rainfall, powerful winds and storm surge to Fiji Islands after pounding the island of Tonga.

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.

GITA also passed close to Ono-I-Lau island (Fiji) on 13 February.

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

The country was devastated by Cyclone Pam in 2015 and Mr Korisa said his office had been fielding calls from concerned people.

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Wind gusts at Ono-i-Lau had reached 190km/h last night.

There are three villages on Ono-I-Lau and one on Vatoa with about 200 people in total.

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

On Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) Tropical Cyclone Gita had maximum sustained winds near 126.6 miles per hour (110 knots/203.7 kph).

Damages in Tonga after TC Gita.

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

"Hi family and friends, my home country (Tonga) was recently affected by Cyclone Gita which caused catastrophic damage to our family home", he said.

"Successive legislatures over the years have suggested building a new Parliament House, and I guess that'll be a necessity now", he said.

"But on other islands, initial communications received indicate that there has been little or no damage to crops", said Anare Leweniqila, director of Fiji's national disaster management office. Worldwide assistance from Australia and New Zealand are also getting ready to be deployed to Tonga to help with restoration works.

"The full extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is still being assessed but there is an immediate need for assistance on the ground", New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.

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