Cyclone Gita

Most homes in Tonga's 'Eua damaged


Just over a week ago the then category four storm swept over 'Eua, which lies some 40 kilometres southeast of the main island of Tongatapu.

Melenaite Sisifa Fili said most of the homes in the six villages she oversees were impacted significantly by the storm with nearly 30 percent destroyed.

There are seven evacuation centres on the island which still harbour a number of families.

But Ms Fili said the initial clean-up has been successful, thanks to the community coming together.

Tongan church sends out counsellors post Cyclone Gita

A week after the category four storm severely damaged parts of Tongatapu and 'Eua, only pockets of the community have power and many are still working to clean up their properties.

Emergency Management staff and aid agencies have been working to distribute supplies to the hardest hit areas.

But the President of the Free Wesleyan Church, Rev Dr Finau 'Ahio, says people's emotional state needs to be mended too.

Dr 'Ahio says his church has begun sending counsellors around the island.

Alerts lifted in New Caledonia as Cyclone Gita moves away

Initial reports say the category three storm caused no serious damage.

It passed as forecast to the south of the Isle of Pines which was the only part of the territory on full alert.

The system brought gales of up to 130 km an hour as well as heavy rain.

Hilary Roots, who lives on the Isle of Pines, said Cyclone Gita was frightening as it passed through Friday night.

She said there was less rain than forecast but there were very strong wind gusts.

Ms Roots said the eye passed a hundred kilometres to south of the Isle.

NZ sends disaster relief supplies

The New Zealand Defence Force said agriculture tool kits, family hygiene kits, collapsible water containers, tarpaulins, generators and chainsaw packs were all on board.

Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy said he hoped the supplies would provide basic power, water and sanitation for people.

He said there was also equipment to clear fallen trees.

Most of Tonga remained without power and running water in the wake of Gita.

Derek Leonard owns and runs a coffee plantation in Veitongo - a small rural village in the middle of Tongatapu.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain as NZ warned to get ready for Gita

MetService forecasts severe thunderstorms with frequent lightning, and downpours of up to 40 millimetres of rain per hour which may cause flooding.

It said the heavy rain and thunderstorm activity should ease south of Hokitika late morning, and between Hokitika and Westport by about 2pm this afternoon.

MetService has predicted the rest of the weekend to be fairly nice.

However it won't be nice for long as Cyclone Gita is expected to make its way to New Zealand early next week.

China provides disaster relief assistance to Tonga

The fund will assist in rehabilitation following the devastation of Cyclone Gita on Tongatapu and Eua earlier this week.

China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Wang Yi sent a message to Prime Minister, a day after Cyclone Gita hit Tonga extending heartfelt sympathy to the Government and people of Tonga, vowing that China is ready to provide emergency disaster relief assistance within its capacity, and believing that with the joint efforts of the Tongan government and people, Tonga will be able to overcome the disaster and rebuild the country.

Fears over deportations to cyclone-ravaged Tonga

Immigration New Zealand said today there were no imminent planned deportations to Tonga, and it would take a pragmatic and compassionate approach to the issue.

"INZ always takes into account all the circumstances in an individual case before going ahead with any deportations, including the effects of Cyclone Gita," a spokesman said.

But Richard Small said while deportations may be suspended for a short period, officials needed to think about how long it would take for countries to recover from natural disasters.

Charities encouraging money donations instead of goods

Red Cross' Pacific community engagement representative Malia Tua'i says cash is the fastest, most effective way to help cyclone victims at this stage.

"I've seen on Facebook that they're gathering food and clothes, that's not working smarter in our view. The need is now, by the time you gather all that food and clothes and whatnot, the disaster will be over. Cash is best." 

Red Cross will have volunteers at Queen's concert this weekend in Auckland, to continue raising funds for Cyclone Gita victims.



Storm surges and damage likely as Gita reaches New Caledonia

Forecaster Rajneel Prasad said gale force winds may affect Noumea as the cyclone approaches.

He said the location of tropical cyclone Gita was 480km east of Noumea at 6am (Fiji time) this morning.

It is expected to track west and southwest from its current location and will pass over the southeast islands of New Caledonia over the next day or so.

Activities at sea are banned on New Caledonia's Isle of Pines and people were being advised to board up their houses and secure their livestock.

A pre-alert remains in place for the rest of the territory.

Tonga's King calls for closer cooperation to tackle cyclone damage

In his royal address to the kingdom, King Tupou said the normal procedure for him is to receive information before and after a severe tropical cyclone.

Radio Tonga reports this time he listened together with everyone else in the country to the information provided by radio stations.

King Tupou said he waited until the roads were cleared of branches and debris before he toured the eastern villages on Wednesday, and yesterday he visited the central districts eastern villages of Popua, and Patangata and Nuku'alofa.