12 February, 2018. Tongans anticipating the arrival of Cyclone Gita tonight are stocking up on food, fresh water and fuel.
The government declared a state of emergency this morning, as the storm, heading south from Samoa, strengthens from category-four to category-five.
Gita is expected to be upgraded to a category five by 7pm, packing winds of over 200 kilometres an hour.
It is expected to make landfall on the main island of Tongatapu at midnight tonight.
The director general of the Tonga Red Cross Sione Taumoefolau said emergency supplies were in place in anticipation of the destruction to come.
He said people in Tonga were stocking up on supplies and making the necessary preparations.
He said the local power and phone companies were also preparing with mobile towers being taken down and electricity to be switched off before the cyclone hits.
"We've already placed a lot of relief supplies around Eua and also parts of Tongatapu island and we already informed all of our volunteers ... so they are standing by."
He said the Red Cross' communications system including sat phone and repeater were charged.
The general manager of Tonga's Scenic Hotel, Katie Solcock, said people in the capital, Nuku'alofa, were getting prepared.
"In town everyone's frantically getting supplies, obviously the island being closed on a Sunday, out of respect for the Church, none of that preparation was able to be made yesterday, so it is a little bit last minute for local people but I imagine in the next few hours, everyone will be locking down."
Katie Solcock said the hotel was preparing for power to be cut and a diesel generator was on site.
She said meeting rooms in central parts of the hotel were being set up with supplies for staff and their families and the 130 guests in case rooms had to evacuated.
The aid organisation CARE Australia said across Tongatapu people were preparing for the storm.
The aid agency's emergency response manager Stefan Knollmayer speaking from Australia said he had been in close contact with CARE's Tonga partner agency Live and Learn.
"People are starting to protect their rooves, putting protection on the top with leaves and branches.
People are putting shutters on their windows. We ourselves in our office, we move a lot of our equipment into the middle to protect that and also a lot of our work over the past few years has been renovating and working in community halls in some of the outlying villages in Tongatapu and Eua, making them cyclone proof," Mr Knollmayer said.
Live press conference in Nuku’alofa. Emergency committee recommends Deputy PM of Tonga to declares Tonga in State of emergency. Hon Poasi Tei encouraging families to prepare for Cyclone Gita as this is the strongest to hit Tonga Live press conference in Nuku’alofa.
Emergency committee recommends Deputy PM of Tonga to declares Tonga in State of emergency.
People have been directed to take shelter in churches, particularly strongly built Mormon churches.
The director of emergency management Leveni Aho said there were warnings of huge coastal swells and flooding in low-lying areas.
"We are in the process of informing everyone to prepare for the worse but that's what we are advising people ... stay tuned tro their radios."
Tonga's military is helping to clear properties of rubbish and items which could cause injury or damage.
New Zealand broadcaster John Pulu who is in Tonga said people know how to prepare for such events and are going about their business without panic.
Mr Pulu said the authorities had been providing regular updates via local radio and the armed forces were being utilised.
"The military is helping the ministry of health to come and collect the big rubbish, just in case the cyclone hits Tonga and then the debris will fly around and cause some injury because when there is a cyclone like that it is the debris and some of the bits and pieces from home that go flying and end up hurting people."
Mr Pulu said one flight into Tonga from Sydney had been cancelled.
He said the prime minister Akilisi Pohiva who has been in Auckland arrived back in the country this afternoon.
Okusi Niuila Friday, 16 February 2018 16:34 Comment Link
Hafua hoo mou fakataha noa’ia tae lipooti kihe Tu’i, tae ai ha public statement. Tali mai a mamani ke tokonii kitautolu kae fai e toutou fakataha osi taimi ke hu kau Minisita ikai kenau lava fakalele e Puleanga kae toe fai ha fili foou.Report
Ofa-ki-Tonga Tuesday, 13 February 2018 01:48 Comment Link
Malie lahi. Toe foki pe 'o hoko atu e laukonga (folofola)??? Kapau 'oku lau. Koe fua'i pe ho mamafa kapau 'oku 'ikai keke pauni tatau mo Sisu (Jesus Policy), pea tete 'ilo leva pe 'e "plus" pe "minus" - fika fakafika. Ka koe pango 'oku 'ikai ke fai ha fai fakamaau 'i heni. Ko e poini koe "Tonga prepares for tropical cyclone Gita: state of emergency declared". Ko e fehu'i/poini ko e ha e 'uhinga 'oku hokohoko pehe mai ai e saikolone ki Tonga pea toe 'alu ke toe malohi/kovi ange? Koe poini 'oku ou taukave'i koe lau e tohi "MATOLU" ke toe mahino ange pea faka'uhinga'i ke toe mahino/lelei ange - 'o ngaue'aki ia ke tokoni ki he kakai mo Tonga ke vete'aki e polopalema ko eni. 'Oku 'ikai koe fai fakamaau'i hoto kita koe tali ia. He kapau tete mo'ua pe femo'uekina hono fakamaau'i "hoto kita" pe "koho kita", mahalo koe fe'unga pe 'ene 'osi moe hahaka holo koe afaa eni kuo'osi nuiki hoto fale nofo'anga pe koe sunami eni kuo laiki hoto fale ki he mate. Ko e anga ia 'eku sio faka-fiolosikolo (theological) ki he 'atikolo ko eni. 'Ofa pe 'oku si'i mahino atu 'eku samena. Mole ke mama'o ha fai fakamaau. Koe fiema'u ha Tonga matengata'a, poto pea toe mohu founga he mo'ui (resilience). Fiema'u ha kakai Tonga taukei he milimilisino mo natula, mateuteu faka-'atamai, faka-sino moe faka-laumalie (sustainable). Meaning, ketau lava 'o mo'ui pe ha fa'ahinga tukunga 'o natula pe 'e 'uha, la'aa, honge, afaa, sunami, mofuike etc.Report
Ofa-ki-Tonga Monday, 12 February 2018 17:37 Comment Link
Ko e 'aahi mai eni ia 'a 'Atonai Sihova ki Tonga 'oku ki'i ngali kehe. 'Ikai ngata pe he'ene ketekoli nima, ka 'oku toe vaka ('iai hono mata) mai ai e laumalie 'o sivisivi'i hono kakai. Kuo'osi momoi 'a Tonga ki Langi. 'Oku 'ikai nai koha faka-'ilonga eni ketau toe tokanga ange, 'o tuku e vaka he lotu. Ka fai hano vete, koe vete pe mei 'Olunga!Report