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Tonga ravaged by worst storm in 60 years

By: Bisola Bello February 13, 2018
storm damage

Tonga have been ravaged after Tropical Cyclone Gita smashed into the Pacific island nation, flattening buildings, downing electrical lines and causing widespread flooding.

The storm, which at its peak brought winds of up to 230 kilometers per hour (kph) with gusts upwards of 280 kph, first made landfall around 8 p.m. Monday, reaching the main island of Tongatapu between 11 p.m and 2 a.m. local time.

The country’s parliament house in the capital Nukuálofa was flattened.

According to the British Met office, Gita is the worst cyclone to pass close to Tonga’s main islands in 60 years. The storm was far stronger than forecasters predicted, despite not reaching category five status.

An estimated 110,000 people live in Tonga, with the majority based on the main island of Tongatapu where they have confirmed three major injuries and 30 minor injuries. One 72-year-old man died of a heart attack, though it was unclear if it related to the storm.



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