Health Care

Cyclone hits southern Fiji islands, damage uncertain

Cyclone hits southern Fiji islands, damage uncertain

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP)-Officials in American Samoa began a full assessment Monday of damage caused by tropical storm Gita over the weekend.

Cape Town: South Africa today declared a "national disaster" over a drought that has ravaged parts of the country and threatened to leave the city of Cape Town without domestic tap water.

It's still unclear how many people suffered injuries as a result of the storm, or if there are any fatalities.

New Zealand MetService lead meteorologist Michael Martens said the Category 4 cyclone arrived in the southern Lau island group about 6pm yesterday, slowly passing through until about 10pm.

On Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) Tropical Cyclone Gita had maximum sustained winds near 126.6 miles per hour (110 knots/203.7 kph).

"I have never experienced anything like that", Tonga High School French teacher Virginie Dourlet said.

"Those two kept it all night and one had to stay up at the center and the other one had to get supplies in the middle of strong wind and heavy rain and they should be commended highly and their commitment to help the people".

The damage on Tonga's outer islands has not been fully assessed, as information from there was slow to obtain. The roof of Tonga's Parliament building was also destroyed.

"Not exactly what I wanted to hear but much love to all my Fams (sic) back home".

Spark CEO for Home, Mobile and Business Grant McBeath said: "Our thoughts are with the people of Tonga and Samoa, and those New Zealanders who have family in the islands". Worldwide assistance from Australia and New Zealand are also getting ready to be deployed to Tonga to help with restoration works.

"Tonga is a close neighbour of New Zealand and we stand ready to assist our neighbours in times like these", Air Commodore McEvoy said.

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

Emergency authorities said about 70 per cent of the population had been affected and food and water would be a significant problem.