Cylone Gita: destruction in the Pacific

Cyclone Gita has been upgraded to a category 5, the highest possible, Fiji's Meteorological service says, as it moves away from the islands of southern Fiji. So far the cyclone has left Samoa and American Samoa with a massive cleanup, Tonga in destruction, Fiji’s southern islands cut off. RNZ has the latest



Cyclone Gita is currently moving into the waters to the south of Vanuatu and to the north of New Caledonia.


Most of Fiji appears to have escaped the worst of Tropical Cyclone Gita overnight, the southern Lau island group bearing the brunt of the storm. Communication with those islands is still limited.


Clean up is underway in Tonga and Samoa after the cyclone wrecked havoc across the island nations earlier in the week.



In the wake of Cyclone Gita:





  • Communications cut to Ono-I-Lau and Vatoa islands, restored Thursday at earliest


  • No doctors on Vatoa and Ono-I-Lau


  • Those islands thought to have been hit by 275km/h winds and storm surges, other Southern Lau group and rest of Fiji avoided the worst


  • Cyclone moving west out into open waters




  • Capital Nuku'alofa severely damaged, power and water out, many landmark buildings destroyed


  • Power turned off for 75,000 residents in Tongatapu


  • Police confirmed 72-year-old man from Fuaamotu was rushed to the hospital last night, but died of a heart attack before arrival, and the director of health said the cyclone could have contributed to his death


  • Tongan MP Lord Fusitu'a, who lives near the centre of Tongatapu, said another woman also died after her house blew away


  • Police also confirmed three major injuries and 30 minor injuries on Tongatapu as a result of Gita


  • All airports in Tonga closed due to damage and disruption


  • Disaster assessment teams say water, shelter and food are the immediate needs for people there


  • Tongan Met Office roof in Tongatapu ripped off, equipment affected and offices evacuated


  • A Catholic church completely destroyed


  • State of emergency declared to help prevent loss of life and damage to property


  • New Zealand's government has pledged $750,000 to help rescue and relief operations and an RNZAF C130 Hercules, carrying emergency relief supplies, will fly to Tonga


  • Australian government is providing $US274,000 dollars worth of emergency aid and life-saving equipment including emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits to assist over 2000 people in need


  • Australia also released humanitarian supplies, including tarpaulins and water purification tablets, to be delivered through the Tongan Red Cross

American Samoa and Samoa


  • Massive cleanup under way across Samoa and American Samoa


  • Fears about sanitation and the spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever


  • People advised to boil all water


  • Schools closed


  • Emergency teams working to restore power and running water to thousands of households

New Caledonia and Vanuatu


  • People in both countries have been advised to be aware of the possible impacts of Gita and listen to updates from meteorological services in those countries



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