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Warnings still in effect for Fiji after Gita

16 February 2018

According to reports, Gita is the worst cyclone to pass along Tonga's main islands in 60 years because all communications were lost overnight as Gita ripped the roof off the Tonga meteorological office making the entire situation very hard for everyone.

The Category 4 tropical storm struck the country overnight, lifting roofs off homes and knocking down power lines and trees.

"I could see the people across the road, their roof was flapping around the house, it was trying to disintegrate".

Fijivillage has also received confirmation that destructive winds are being experienced in Ono-i-Lau and heavy swells as high as 5 metres were recorded around the coastal areas of Ono-i-Lau early this morning.

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But Peter Korisa of the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office said the island was still on the alert after Gita brought winds of up to 275 km per hour and heavy rain across Ono-I-Lau and Vatoa, Fiji's southernmost islands last night.

Tonga is a Polynesian sovereign state comprised of 169 islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean. It is not yet clear where MPs will sit while it is being repaired.

Tongan noble lawmaker Lord Fusitu'a told the Australian Broadcasting was a great disappointment the Parliament building had been knocked down.

"Successive legislatures over the years have suggested building a new parliament house and I guess that'll be a necessity now", he said. Cross-country skier and Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua, 34, followed the storm from South Korea and tried to make contact with friends and family.

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Kiwi Defence personnel also deployed 12 tonnes of aid supplies and a 10-member team to Tonga by air to assess the damage.

"Things like this really put life and what's important in life into perspective".

Gita was the worst cyclone to pass so close to Tonga's main islands in six decades, and is expected to hit Fiji's Lau Islands by midday Tuesday. Instead, forecasters said the cyclone should remain at Category 4 until later this week, but will pose no threat to populated centers on Fiji.

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Warnings still in effect for Fiji after Gita