Tonga: Cyclone Gita - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRTO001

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Cyclone Gita was initially monitored over the Pacific waters as a Tropical Depression 07F (TD07F) analyzed southeast of Vanuatu. TD07F was later upgraded to a Tropical Cyclone Category 1 as it moved South South-East affecting Samoa with heavy rain causing flooding, and gusty winds of up to 39-54 miles per hour on Friday 9 February 2018.

Cyclone Gita was updated as a Category 2 as it moved towards Niue on Saturday 10 February. As of early Monday morning 12 February 2018, the system intensified to a Category 4 when it crossed Tonga during the night between February 12 and 13. Close to the center Cyclone Gita was packing average winds of 110 knots (285km/hour), making it one of the worst cyclones to have ever hit the island nation in recorded history.

A State of Emergency was declared by the Government of Tonga at 10 am on Monday 12 February for initially one month. Upon this declaration, a direct request from the Tongan government went to New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Division for Foreign Affairs of the Australian government for initial support and non-food items relief supplies. Preliminary damage assessment reports mention about 70 per cent of the population are affected. The worst affected areas are Tongatapu (where the capital of the country Nukuʻalofa is situated), Ha’apai and Eua islands.

A cyclone alert was also issued for the Southern Lau Island Group, Kadavu and smaller islands in Fiji, and neighbouring countries Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand are monitoring the system closely