Falling trees and downed power poles hinder relief effort, says Minister

Faingata'a e feinga 'a e pule'anga ke fakafuofua'i e lahi 'o e maumau 'ia saikolone Gita tupu mei he tākoto 'a e pou 'uhila mo e 'akau he loto hala. Kei fai e feinga 'a e polisi mei Tonga ki Eua ke 'omai ha fakamatala tu'unga he motu 'a e telefoni mo e 'initaneti. Mate fakafokifa tangata'eiki ta'u 72 mei Fua'amotu 'i fale mahaki pea lavelavea lalahi ha toko tolu. Ko e toko 30 ne a'utaki hake ki fale mahaki ka ko e lavelavea iiki pe

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Cyclone Gita. Photo/Patimiosi Ngungutau

The Tongan government’s efforts to assess the extent of destruction by tropical cyclone Gita had been hindered by falling trees and downed power poles.

The Minister of Disaster Management, Hon. Poasi Tei, said teams of government assessors had been dispatched to villages and towns to report on damage caused by the category four cyclone.

However, they could not start their work immediately because the roads were blocked by debris and downed powerlines.

It is expected the assessment would be completed by tomorrow, Hon. Tei told Kaniva News.

As we reported this afternoon, New Zealand and Australia sent two aircraft carrying aid to Tonga.

Hon Tei said he was thankful for the New Zealand and Australia’s assistance so far.

Meanwhile a 72-year-old man from Fua’amotu died suddenly in hospital while three people were seriously injured and 30 were admitted to hospital with minor injuries, Hon. Tei said.

Police Minister Māteni Tapueluelu said his ministerial office and some other police offices had been flooded.

He said many school buildings had their roofs ripped off when Cyclone Gita struck.

Hon. Tapueluelu said this afternoon attempts to get information from ‘Eua in the wake of Gita had been failed because telephones and internet were down.

Another aircraft from New Zealand will fly to Tonga to conduct a surveillance survey in ‘Eua.

He said Police were trying to make contacts with the island from Nakolo in Hahake because of their closeness but he has yet to be updated in it.

It has been estimated about 5700 people sought shelter in evacuation centres overnight, and it is expected these numbers will increase substantially tonight.

About 80,000 people in Tonga, including 32,000 children, were at risk from Cyclone Gita,  Unicef said.

The main points

  • The Tongan government’s efforts to assess the extent of destruction by tropical cyclone Gita had been hindered by falling trees and downed power poles.
  • The Minister of Disaster Management, Hon. Poasi Tei, said teams of government assessors had been dispatched to villages and towns to report on damage caused by the category five cyclone.
  • However, they could not start their work immediately because the roads were blocked by debris and downed powerlines.

For more information

Tonga welcomes New Zealand $750,000 donation as Gita leaves path of destruction

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