27 Jan 2011

Crops on Tonga's Ha'apai devastated by Cyclone Wilma

8:44 am on 27 January 2011

Food crops have been devastated and many buildings damaged on Tonga's Ha'apai Islands from Cyclone Wilma.

On the islands surveyed so far, the Ha'apai governor's residence suffered extensive damage, an office at the airport was demolished, several church structures were badly damaged and some schools suffered roof or water damage.

The acting secretary for the Ha'apai governor, Viliami Taumoefolau Latu, says low lying areas like Lifuka experienced severe flooding with storm surges reaching up to 20 metres inland in places..

He says most agricultural crops and food gardens have also been ruined.

"And most of the houses torn or blown down here, they are old houses. And some of the houses, only their roofs and verandahs are blown off, because they aren't constructed properly, and pretty much all. So what we are caring about is our food, because most of the fruits, the breadfruit trees, tapioca, that will be the worse effect of the hurricane."