11 Apr 2014

More than 50,000 affected in PNG by cyclone Ita

1:25 pm on 11 April 2014

It is estimated 54,000 people in Papua New Guinea have been affected by tropical cyclone Ita and authorities expect that number to rise.

Cyclone Ita grew to a category three as it passed the eastern tip of mainland PNG over the past few days.

It is now a category five and heading towards the Queensland coast.

The co-ordinator of the Milne Bay provincial disaster office, Eric Balaria, says the south-eastern Rossel and Sudest islands, in the Louisiade archipelago, are the worst affected.

"Total of about 54,000 people affected, about 11,000 households. Houses destroyed so far 1,134. Food gardens destroyed 5,390. So that's the figure we received as of yesterday."

Eric Balaria says he expects the figures to climb as more reports come in from isolated areas.

There have been no reports of deaths or injuries so far.