Tropical Depression (TD07) was named as Tropical Cyclone Gita on 10 February 2018. TC Gita started as a Cat 1 near Wallis and Futuna, passed through Samoa as a Cat 2 on 10 February, Niue on 11 February, Tonga as a Cat 4 on 12 February and the Southern Lau group of Fiji as Cat 4 on February 13.
Situation overview, including security issues
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.
The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) is a network of humanitarian organizations that work together to assist the Pacific island countries prepare for and respond to disasters. During disasters, the PHT provides support to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and communities in delivering a fast, effective and appropriate disaster response. Outside of disasters, the PHT works with the Pacific governments and partners to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to enable effective international support to nationally-led disaster response.
• On 14 February, the Government of Tonga requested UN support, through the humanitarian cluster system, to respond to the severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Gita that hit Tonga on the night of 12-13 February as a Category 4 system. In Tonga, to date, there are 108 evacuation centres for 4,500 evacuees, including 1,225 affected families in Tongatapu and 264 affected families in Eua.
Concerns are being raised in Samoa about the lack of emergency communications and updates during Cyclone Gita.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
- Very strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge due to category 4 Tropical Cyclone GITA have affected the islands of 'Eua and Tongatapu (Tonga). GITA also passed close to Ono-I-Lau island (Fiji) on 13 February. On 14 February at 0.00 UTC, it was located 200 km south-west of Kandavu island and had maximum sustained winds of 213 km/h.
Red Cross is assisting on the ground in Tonga and Samoa as Tropical Cyclone Gita moves towards Fiji.
Red Cross is helping communities prepare for Tropical Cyclone Gita in Fiji as teams in Tonga and Samoa assist people already affected by the storm.
Gita crossed Samoa as a category two cyclone, causing widespread flooding, before hitting Tonga on Monday night as a category four cyclone. It is expected to intensify and may reach category five before hitting Fiji’s southern islands tonight.
SUVA, 13 February 2018 – As Tropical Cyclone Gita intensifies, the strongest storm to ever hit Tonga, and heads towards Fiji, UNICEF offers its support to the affected Pacific island countries of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
“UNICEF is ready to support the Governments of Tonga and Samoa respond to the emergencies caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita. We are also on standby to provide support to the Government of Fiji as they brace for Cyclone Gita,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.
Australia and New Zealand have flown emergency aid supplies to Tonga where the clean-up from Cyclone Gita has begun, and as the category-four storm intensifies and heads west towards nearby Fiji.
The Australian Government said it was sending $350,000 worth of emergency supplies to Tonga immediately.
The Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, told ABC Radio Australia's Pacific Beat Program the Royal Australian Air Force was flying the aid to Tonga on Tuesday night.
Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Gita hit Tonga on the night of 12 February as a Category 4 system, and is the strongest storm Tonga has ever been struck by.
In Tonga, emergency authorities estimate approximately 70 per cent of the population have been impacted.
UNICEF-led Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) clusters have been convened in Suva and UNICEF has, together with other PHT partners, produced an inventory of supplies and personnel available for use in the response to TC Gita.
Tropical Cyclone GITA passed near the islands of Eua (population 4 900) and Tongatapu (population 74 600) on 12 February morning UTC as an intense category 4 Tropical Cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 230 km/h. Very strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge affected the islands of Eua and Tongatapu, including the capital Nuku’alofa. On 13 February at 0.00 UTC, GITA was located 150 km south of Vatoa island (Lau archipelago, Fiji) and it had maximum sustained winds of 222 km/h.
Suva / Kuala Lumpur / Geneva, 13 February 2018 - Red Cross volunteers and staff are on high alert as Tropical Storm Gita barrels towards Fiji, having already caused floods in Samoa and destruction in Tonga.
Fiji Red Cross has emergency response teams on standby as Gita is expected to track through the southern Lau group of islands later tonight.
Tropical Cyclone (TC) 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 between 39-54 miles per hour from Friday 9 February 2018.
Tropical Cyclone GITA formed over the Southern Pacific Ocean on 9 February, close to Wallis and Futuna. It has passed near Samoa, American Samoa and east of Niue, causing damage and floods, especially in Samoa.
The Pacific Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBD) project is the first regionally coordinated approach aimed at reducing the number of UBD arrivals during humanitarian and disaster response.
Tropical Cyclone Gita passed Samoa on 10 February and Niue on 11 February, with damage and localized flooding reported in Samoa. TC Gita is forecast to strike Tonga on the evening of 12 February. As of 12 February, 12:00 UTC, TC Gita continues to move west as a Category 4 cyclone with winds of up to 213 km/h, it is expected to maintain this intensity as it passes over Tonga and into Fijian territorial waters. More than 80,000 people in Tonga are currently expected to be impacted by cyclone strength winds.
Tropical Cyclone Gita passed by Samoa on 10 February 2018 and Niue on 11 February 2018, with damages reported in Samoa, including localized flooding.
According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, Tropical Cyclone Gita is forecast to arrive in Tonga on Monday, 12 February 2018 in the evening. It is forecast to enter Fijian territory passing the Southern Lau Group on Tuesday, 13 February 2018.