Cy­clone hits south­ern Fiji is­lands

Gulf News - - Australia / Africa -

Thou­sands of Tonga res­i­dents face a long wait for power and other ser­vices to be re­stored af­ter a cy­clone tore through the Pa­cific na­tion this week.

More de­tails emerged yes­ter­day about the dam­age caused by Cy­clone Gita af­ter it hit the main is­land Mon­day night just south of the cap­i­tal, Nuku’alofa. The cy­clone de­stroyed homes, churches and even the na­tion’s his­toric Par­lia­ment House.

There have been no con­firmed deaths from the storm. Ton­gan po­lice said three peo­ple suf­fered ma­jor in­juries and 30 had mi­nor in­juries. Po­lice said an of­fi­cer was in­jured while try­ing to help a fam­ily evac­u­ate and was in sta­ble con­di­tion in a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

Most of the main is­land re­mains with­out power and many phone lines aren’t work­ing. Some 5,000 peo­ple stayed in evac­u­a­tion cen­tres dur­ing Cy­clone Gita, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials. Tonga, which is home to about 106,000 peo­ple, has de­clared an emer­gency.

New Zealand has pledged 2.25 mil­lion New Zealand dol­lars (Dh6.05 mil­lion) in aid to help with the cleanup from the cy­clone in sev­eral is­land na­tions, while Aus­tralia is de­ploy­ing equip­ment worth hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.

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