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Tonga hit by Cyclone Gita



tonga flickr sarah kelemen garber
Flickr/Sarah
Kelemen Garber



  • Tonga is cleaning up after a category 4 cyclone tore
    through the island nation late Monday.
  • Roofs were torn off buildings and Parliament was
    flattened.
  • The full extent of damage is still being
    assessed.
  • The cyclone was heading towards Fiji’s southern islands
    on Tuesday.

Tonga is cleaning up after a category 4 cyclone tore through the
archipelago late Monday.

Cyclone Gita had winds of up to 125 miles (200
kilometers) per hour and flattened the nation’s
parliament, 
reported
Reuters
.

Roofs were torn off buildings and floods and downed power lines
were observed.

“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.

Peters added that about 5,700 people sought shelter in evacuation
centers on Monday night, and the number will likely increase on
Tuesday.

Tonga is a Polynesian sovereign
state comprised of 169 islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean.
Gita
could be the strongest cyclone
to ever hit the
country.

There were no reports of deaths, but several people were injured,
Graham Kenna, an Australian government adviser at Tonga’s
National Emergency Management Office, told Reuters.

Officials said up to 40 percent of homes on the main island were
damaged, the ABC reported.


Gita hit Samoa and American Samoa
over the weekend, flooding
the Samoan capital, Apia.

The cyclone was heading towards Fiji’s southern islands on
Tuesday, and some forecasts warn it could intensify into a
Category 5 storm.


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