Tonga Parliament building flattened by cyclone Gita


Cyclone Gita had winds of up to 125 miles (200 kilometers) per hour and flattened the nation's parliament, reported Reuters. "Likewise, we stand ready to help the people of Tonga as they recover and rebuild".

The New Zealand Defence Force has delivered 12 tonnes of aid and disaster relief supplies to communities in Tonga affected by Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Winds were gusting almost 200km/h last night as the fringes of the cyclone approached Fiji, cutting communications to some residents. We have lost our houses and our property.

Gita, a category four storm, battered the island overnight and caused widespread damage, reports the BBC. "I think a lot of people were very desperate last night".

Gita can be seen swirling near Fiji as day breaks over the South Pacific region.

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"The sea is reasonably rough and that changed in the last hour or so".

"Three houses were blown right to the ground here in my village".

As the cyclone moved east towards Fiji, authorities warned communities to brace for conditions similar to cyclone Winston that ravaged the country in 2016.

As of late Tuesday local time, there had been no confirmed deaths, but there have been reports of serious injuries.

Su'a said the biggest need would be the crops because Tropical Cyclone Gita ruined all plantations.

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The cyclone destroyed homes, churches and even the nation's historic Parliament House.

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

"It was a terrifying night", Graham Kenna from Tonga's National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) told the ABC's Pacific Beat program. The storm also knocked out power and water service. "I've been involved in disaster responses for 30 plus years and it's the worst situation I have been in", Kenna said.

As tropical cyclone Gita begins to exit Fiji waters, the Fijian government's focus is to complete damage assessments and respond to immediate needs in the southern islands.

New Zealand MetService lead meteorologist Michael Martens said the Category 4 cyclone arrived in the southern Lau island group about 6pm yesterday, slowly passing through until about 10pm.

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Spark and Vodafone offered free calling and texting to Tonga for customers desperate to communicate with their loved ones.