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Tonga Cyclone Gita smashes into South Pacific islands

TONGA began reconstruction work today after the country was battered by Cyclone Gita.

The storm tore through the country’s Parliament House, demolishing the 100-year-old building, as well as homes and churches on the main island of Tongatapu.

The strong winds, which topped 125mph at landfall, caused power to cut out across the island. Roofs were ripped off houses and trees uprooted.

About 5,000 people stayed in evacuation centres overnight yesterday, with officials declaring an emergency. Thankfully there were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries.

Tonga has reported increasingly extreme weather as a result of man-made climate change.

Gita had become stronger since hitting the Samoas, where it wrecked buildings and caused widespread flooding.

It was becoming stronger still as it headed towards nearby Fiji and was expected to hit some southern Fijian islands last night, though hopefully missing major population centres, including the capital Suva.

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