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Tonga on 'long road to reconstruction' after Cyclone Gita

16 February 2018, 06:12 | Lucy Hill

Cyclone Gita: worst storm in over 60 years destroys Tonga

Tonga: Cyclone Gita leaves trail of destruction

The worst of the storm is over for Fiji but the extent of the damage wrought to the low-lying atolls by Tropical Cyclone Gita remains to be seen.

Desperate people boarded up their homes and stocked up on essential supplies while praying and hoping for the best before heading to the safety of emergency shelters.

As tropical cyclone Gita begins to exit Fiji waters, the Fijian government's focus is to complete damage assessments and respond to immediate needs in the southern islands.

The main concern was for the islands of Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, which were directly in the cyclone's path.

"We're communicating as well with government officials who serve in these islands".

The other photo shows the parliament house damaged by Cyclone Gita in Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

The last time a category 5 cyclone hit the Pacific was in February 2016 when Cyclone Winston killed 44 people in Fiji.

It is expected intensify to a category five cyclone as it passes over the Ono-i-Lau group of islands.

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"To simply put it our house was completely destroyed".

Back in Tonga, the island nation was picking up the pieces after Gita passed through on Monday night, wreaking havoc with its powerful winds and torrential rain.

There have been no confirmed deaths from the storm, although Tongan police said three people had suffered major injuries and another 30 suffered minor injuries.

Hundreds of military personnel were clearing roads and disaster teams were already assessing the damage.

Roofs were torn off buildings and Parliament was flattened. He said by initial estimates the damage in the capital was extremely severe. "It was a terrifying night", Graham Kenna from the National Emergency Management Office told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Prime Minister said they have signed off on $750,000 of relief for Tonga after Cyclone Gita hit.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is leading New Zealand's response with Tongan Authorities, but aid agencies are preparing for the worst.

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