Stories that matter
- ‘Worst storm on record’: Cyclone Gita tears through Tonga
A state of emergency has been declared in Tonga as Cyclone Gita, a category four storm, tore a path of destruction through the island nation of Tonga on Feb 12.
Gita's ferocious winds gusting up to 278km/h tore roofs off houses and business and took down trees.Tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and people took cover in evacuation centres overnight.
Gita is the strongest cyclone to have hit Tonga in 60 years. Most people had never experienced anything like it and residents were anxious as the terrifying storm approached.
Thankful to be alive when the storm passed, people texted and tweeted friends and relatives to make sure they were OK.
Cyclone Gita left a trail of destruction in its wake. The road to recovery will be long for thousands who’ve lost their homes, their possessions ruined with the flooding.
Our partners on the ground are still assessing the damage, but say clean water, shelter and food supplies are the immediate needs of communities affected.
Excess rain water has also created fear of a further dengue fever outbreak.
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