Cyclone destroys Parliament House, homes on Tonga, Fiji next

Fili Sagapolutele

This Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, photo shows electric and telephone wires downed by trees from Friday's Tropical Storm Gita in American Samoa. President Donald Trump late Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, approved a disaster declaration for the U.S. territory in the South Pacific. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Pacific nation of Tonga began cleaning up damage Tuesday from a cyclone that destroyed its Parliament House, as well as homes and churches, and was intensifying as it headed toward nearby Fiji.

Cyclone Gita caused power outages after tearing through the island nation just south of the capital, Nuku’alofa, with winds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) at landfall. Some 5,000 people stayed in evacuation centers overnight, according to officials, and an emergency was declared. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.

The cyclone was intensifying and was forecast to hit some southern Fiji islands Tuesday night, though it’s likely to miss Fiji’s major population centers, including the capital, Suva.

In Tonga, publisher Pesi Fonua said fallen trees were littering the landscape and their absence was opening up new vistas. He said many homes had lost their roofs or were otherwise badly damaged. Many people had endured a terrifying night and were glad to be alive, he added.

“Most of them haven’t experienced anything like this before,” he said. “It was a real shock for them.”

Tongan noble lawmaker Lord Fusitu’a told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. it was a great disappointment the Parliament building…

Article Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *