Strongest storm in 60 years batters Tonga in South Pacific

Cyclone Gita passed south of Fiji's main islands about midnight. NIWA warns it could loop south to New Zealand

It appears the worst damage is already done however, after the storm made landfall in Tonga on Monday night as a category four cyclone, ripping roofs off houses, destroying crops, and destroying a church as well as Parliament House.

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.

He said the primary islands of focus include Ono-i-Lau, Vatoa, Ogea, Namuka, Fulaga, and Kabara - which combined hold a population of 1,579 people. "I've been involved in disaster responses for 30 plus years and it's the worst situation I have been in", Kenna said. However, Tonga's century-old parliament building is among the confirmed structural casualties.

The Weather Office will continue to monitor the system and as new information comes to hand, the projected tracks will be adjusted.

"The eye went over us, then we lost the meteorology office - it was blown away", Mr Kenna said.

It's still unclear how many people suffered injuries as a result of the storm, or if there are any fatalities. Instead, forecasters said the cyclone should remain at Category 4 until later this week, but will pose no threat to populated centers on Fiji.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it was on standby to provide help, including military assistance and humanitarian supplies.

Sione Taumoefolau, the secretary general of the Red Cross in Tonga, was quoted as saying that he had dispatched teams to the affected areas in Nuku'alofa and started to assess the damage.

"So it's going to be some time before we get a quick overview of the damages to the nation".

Cyclone Gita is now heading towards Fiji where it is expected to intensify into a Category 5 storm.

There are three villages on Ono-I-Lau and one on Vatoa with about 200 people in total.

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