26 Jan 2011

Clean up underway in Tonga's Ha'apai group after Wilma blows through

2:31 pm on 26 January 2011

Tonga's Ministry of Tourism says the clean up is underway for tourism businesses on Ha'apai that suffered cyclone damage.

Cyclone Wilma swept through Tonga yesterday, with storm surges affecting many low lying areas in the island group.

Resorts in Ha'apai reported damage to waterpipes and flooding, with some beach bungalows washed offshore and crops ruined.

The Ministry's director, Akopo Lolohea, says some tourists are stranded in resorts in the Haapai Group because of the storm, but things are now returning to normal.

"The only damages that we know that are actually to a large extent was actually Ha'apai. Not much here in Tongatapu or even in Vava'u. I think the brunt of the hurricane probably gave Ha'apai a bit of a shakeup there but there's no determined loss of life, as of the latest report."

Akopo Lolohea says interisland ferry services and flights are expected to resume again today.