RadioNZ Wed 14 Feb – As Tonga assesses the damage caused by Cyclone Gita, it is feared a lack of power and water will cause more difficulties for the people there.
BroadCom’s Maka Tohi said a day after the then category four storm swept through Tongatapu and ‘Eua most people were without power and fuel was in short supply.
He said the lack of electricity meant water pumps had no pressure, so water shortage was also a concern.
“There’s no water for people to use like [for] bathrooms, showers, even drinks. But the drinks they can get it from the shop from the water they sell there but for bathrooms, no one [can] use it.
“Lucky my family, we have a cement tank where we can store water so this one we use. We go back to basics and jug the water out and that’s what we use for our baths.”
Mr Tohi said he had been operating using a generator but only has enough fuel to last until midnight.
He said electricity had already been restored to the hospital and Tonga Power have indicated other necessary services may be reconnected within the next 24 hours.
“They might try to restore as early as this evening, the broadcast stations, the government buildings and also the most important government departments that they need to operate.
“They have to make sure that they will start working by this evening or early next morning.”
The head of Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office, Leveni Aho, said debris blocking roads was hampering a full assessment of the impact of Cyclone Gita there.
While about half the houses in Tongatapu still have water, it was difficult to properly assess other infrastructure, Mr Aho said.
“The big thing is that we’re concentrating on trying to get clearance – road access – so that people can start access to go to hospital and various other places where they need to [go].
“Walking throughout the capital there’s been extensive damage. I’m told from our emergency centre that 40 percent of the roofs have been torn off and there’s extensive damage to the greater Nuku’alofa area and outlying villages.”
“This is probably the most significant clean-up that we’ve had in a while … Cyclone Isaac was in 1982, which was decades ago, and this clean-up would be more significant than that.Full Report and more pictures: