14 Feb 2018

Cyclone Gita - what you need to know

7:55 am on 14 February 2018

Tropical cyclone Gita has moved away from Fiji but it has lashed the Southern Lau islands. Here's what you need to know.


  • Communications cut to Ono-I-Lau and Vatoa islands, restored Thursday at earliest
  • No doctors on Vatoa and Ono-I-Lau
  • Those islands thought to have been hit by 275km/h winds and storm surges, other Southern Lau group and rest of Fiji avoided the worst
  • Cyclone moving west out into open waters


  • Capital Nuku'alofa severely damaged, power and water out, many landmark buildings destroyed
  • Power turned off for 75,000 residents in Tongatapu
  • Police confirmed 72-year-old man from Fuaamotu was rushed to the hospital last night, but died of a heart attack before arrival, and the director of health said the cyclone could have contributed to his death
  • Tongan MP Lord Fusitu'a, who lives near the centre of Tongatapu, said another woman also died after her house blew away
  • Police also confirmed three major injuries and 30 minor injuries on Tongatapu as a result of Gita
  • All airports in Tonga closed due to damage and disruption
  • Disaster assessment teams say water, shelter and food are the immediate needs for people there
  • Tongan Met Office roof in Tongatapu ripped off, equipment affected and offices evacuated
  • A Catholic church completely destroyed
  • State of emergency declared to help prevent loss of life and damage to property
  • New Zealand's government has pledged $750,000 to help rescue and relief operations and an RNZAF C130 Hercules, carrying emergency relief supplies, will fly to Tonga
  • Australian government is providing $US274,000 dollars worth of emergency aid and life-saving equipment including emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits to assist over 2000 people in need
  • Australia also released humanitarian supplies, including tarpaulins and water purification tablets, to be delivered through the Tongan Red Cross

American Samoa and Samoa

  • Massive cleanup under way across Samoa and American Samoa
  • Fears about sanitation and the spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever
  • People advised to boil all water
  • Schools closed
  • Emergency teams working to restore power and running water to thousands of households

New Caledonia and Vanuatu

  • People in both countries have been advised to be aware of the possible impacts of Gita and listen to updates from meteorological services in those countries

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