Cyclone Hina Situation Report No. 1

Report
from UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Mar 1997
Ref: DHAGVA - 97/0116
1. The DHA South Pacific Programme Office (SPPO) located in Suva, Fiji, reports that tropical cyclone Hina hit the Tongan Islands during the afternoon of Sunday, 16 March 1997, with the eye of the cyclone passing directly over the capital Nuku'Alofa. The strongest winds of the cyclone struck the capital at around 20.15 hrs local time, with gusts of 80 knots being recorded.

2. According to preliminary information from national disaster management officials, the main island of Tong'Tapu was worst affected. Severe damage to power lines and telephone systems occurred. Most damage to buildings was caused by falling trees. Nuku'Alofa did not receive a great deal of structural damage, however, the villages to the east of the capital are reported to be severely affected. Early indications are that restoration of power will take until the end of the week, and even longer in some locations.

3. The National Disaster Council met at 11.00 hrs today, 17 March 1997, and will meet again at 14.00 hrs tomorrow to decide whether a state of emergency will be declared. Assessment teams are currently deployed and a first report on the situation in the worst affected areas is expected by tomorrow. The Chairman of the National Disaster Council will report to Cabinet on Wednesday, 19 March, and subsequently donors will be advised if international assistance is required.

4. DHA Geneva is in close contact with SPPO and the DHA/ UNDP Resident Representative in Suva, and will revert with further information as it becomes available.

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