27 Jan 2011

Churches on Tonga's Ha'apai used to accommodate cyclone homeless

4:29 pm on 27 January 2011

People on Tonga's Ha'apai islands who lost their coastal homes when Cyclone Wilma hit on Tuesday are now being accommodated inland.

The low lying islands suffered the worst affects of the cyclone when it swept through the Kingdom with winds of up to 166 kilometres an hour.

Many homes in coastal areas were flooded or lost roofs.

The acting director of the Ministry of Works and Disaster Relief, Leveni 'Aho, says emergency response teams, including the Red Cross, are helping.

"We know at the island of 'Uiha they lost about 29 houses. So your probably looking at about 80 to 100 people affected there but we will have to confirm the figures. They have been accommodated in some shelters further inland, particularly in churches."

Leveni 'Aho says disaster officials are continuing to assess the damage and helping to clean up and restore services.