28 Jan 2003

Cyclone hits Tonga but only minor damage reported

6:17 pm on 28 January 2003

Cyclone Cilla has hit Tonga's Ha'apai group of islands but only minor damage to buildings and some destruction of crops is reported at this stage.

Male'u Takai, the deputy director of the National Disaster Office, says the defence force on the main Ha'apai island of Lifuka has been in radio contact and there have been no reports of any injuries or deaths.

"Damage to building infrastructure is very minor, fruit bearing trees are the ones affected like breadfruit, coconut trees. The power is now working so that is a good sign to us but communication between Tongatapu and Haapai is still down."

Mr Takai says there's been no contact with other islands in the Ha'apai group as yet.