Monday, January 13, 2014

After cyclone Ian goes through Tonga

from w
Obsessed with local news in Australia we barely get any news of the devastating effects of Cyclone Ian in Tonga although apparently it was one of the worst cyclones.  Haapai islands north of Nukualofa seemed to have received the most damage.  We were in Tonga several months ago and really feel sorry for the people there who are hard-working people.
From Fiji Sun:

Cyclone Ian batters Tonga

Soldiers load emergency supplies on the His Majesty’s Vessel Savea at the Masefield Naval Base in Touliki. The supplies are being taken to Ha’apai. Photo: TONGA DAILY NEWS
There have been no reports of Fijian casualties after Cyclone Ian battered the northern part of Tonga.
The cyclone, downgraded from Category Five to Four, is currently moving away from Tonga.
Meanwhile, there has been conflicting reports by Radio Australia and Tonga Daily News on casualities.
Reports on Radio Australia said “Officials in Tonga have confirmed the first death from severe tropical Cyclone Ian as reports come in of widespread destruction on islands to the north.”
While the Tonga Daily News said there had been no causality.
The full extent of damage from the cyclone is still unclear
Radio Australia reports “Emergency officials say they are receiving reports up to 70 per cent of the houses on some of the smaller islands to the north have been destroyed or damaged.”
Tonga’s director of emergencies, Leveni Aho, has told the ABC he had serious concerns for those in the islands of the Ha’apai group where communications had been cut off.
“The picture comes to hand now, it was really bad,” he said.
“I think it was 70 per cent of the housing of the two islands that we have access to now have been affected – destroyed or partially damaged.
“We have got some people sheltered in some of the evacuation centres, buildings and some of the churches.”
Mr Aho said there was still no communication with 80 per cent of the Ha’apai group of islands, including Lifuka, which bore the brunt of the storm.
Meanwhile a naval vessel ‘Savea’ left Nuku’alofa yesterday morning with a government team, led by Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, for the Ha’apai Group.
The team including soldiers and officials of various government departments and non -governmental organisations including the Red Cross, left with emergency supplies including tents to provide assistance to people in Ha’apai.
Meanwhile, flights both domestically and intermational are expected to resume today.
Real Tonga suspended all flights because of the cyclone while Fiji Airways called off its Nadi to Tonga flight on Saturday night.
Meanwhile an update from the Fiji Meteorological Service yesterday morning, said the storm was located about 200 kilometres east-southeast of Nuku’alofa and was moving south-southeast at 20 kilometres per hour.

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