On 26 December, Tropical Cyclone Cora struck the Kingdom of Tonga. Reports from the Disaster Management Programme - South Pacific Office (DMP-SPO) relate that the island group was drenched in heavy rain and that elevated sea levels, swells and storms provoked massive flooding and salt water intrusion inland. Winds soared to 160 km an hour.
Cyclone Cora has badly damaged Tonga agriculture and vegetation, chiefly affecting fruit trees and plantation crops. The implications are particularly serious on Tongatapu, as this island had been marked out as a potential source of food supply and planting materials for surrounding islands already beset by drought. The islands of Haapai and Vavau, beleaguered by the drought, now also suffer the ravages incurred by flooding, salt water and wind damage. (OCHA, 22 Jan 1999)