12 Feb 2018

LIVE: Cyclone Gita heads for Tonga

1:37 pm on 12 February 2018

Cyclone Gita is gathering strength as it heads towards Tonga and is expected to be a category five storm by the time it reaches the Pacific nation.

Vaisigano river, Apia, during Cyclone Gita.  Many families living next to the river had to be evacuated.

Vaisigano river, Apia, Samoa during Cyclone Gita. Photo: Koko Cafe

The cyclone has already carved a swathe through American Samoa and Samoa, with large-scale clean-up efforts underway in both countries.

Tonga's government has now declared a state of emergency.

People in flood-prone or low-lying parts of Tonga are being urged to leave their homes before the cyclone makes landfall, forecast for about midnight.

Follow RNZ's live updates.