Tropical Cyclone Gita (20 February 2018)

Report
from Government of Australia
Published on 20 Feb 2018 View Original

Tropical Cyclone Gita has caused severe damage in the Pacific. It made landfall in Tonga during the night of Monday 12 February as a destructive category 4 storm, causing severe damage to the capital Nuku'alofa.

Almost 1500 homes have been partially destroyed and close to 300 have been destroyed. Over 4500 people are currently displaced in evacuation centres.

The cyclone also hit Samoa on Saturday 10 February as a category 2 storm.  Both governments have declared a state of emergency.

Our thoughts are with the people of Tonga and Samoa.  Australian officials are in contact with the Government of Tonga and the Government of Samoa to provide support in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Australia's humanitarian assistance

Tonga

Australia will provide up to $3.5 million in humanitarian assistance to support the response to the crisis in Tonga.

Our assistance will:

  • provide life-saving supplies including emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits to assist over 2,000 people in need
  • support the Red Cross, the Tonga Women and Children’s Crisis Centre and Australian NGOs in delivering urgent assistance to affected communities and distributing relief supplies, including tarpaulins and water purification tablets prepositioned with the Tonga Red Cross.
  • assist the Government of Tonga in longer term recovery efforts, particularly in restoring critical infrastructure and social services

Australia’s relief supplies have been delivered by the Australian Defence Force from Australia’s humanitarian supplies warehouse in Brisbane on a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster.

Australia has also deployed Australian crisis specialists and Defence personnel who are working alongside the Government of Tonga and International partners to coordinate relief and recovery efforts. An Australian medical expert participated in a joint assessment of medical needs with officials from New Zealand and the World Health Organisation.

Samoa

In Samoa, Australia will provide $155,000 to support debris clearance, aerial surveillance and food assistance for those who have been displaced. Australia will also provide a structural engineer to assist with damage assessments.

Travel advice and consular assistance

We now advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Tonga. A severe tropical cyclone hit Tonga on Monday 12 February. The cyclone caused extensive damage to buildings and other infrastructure. The Tongan government has declared a state of emergency. If you have concerns for family and friends in Tonga, try to contact them directly. Monitor local media, including local radio broadcasts, for updates. Follow instructions of local authorities.

If you have concerns for the welfare of family and friends in Tonga, Samoa or New Caledonia, try to contact them directly. If you are unable to contact Australian friends and family and are worried whether they are safe, you can call our 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas).

For the latest updates on Cyclone Gita, please refer to www.smartraveller.gov.au. You can also subscribe to receive updated travel advisories for TongaSamoa and New Caledonia.

For travel advice updates, follow @Smartraveller on Twitter