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Falling trees and downed power poles hinder Tonga's Gita relief effort

Falling trees and downed power poles hinder Tonga's Gita relief effort

The worst of the storm is over for Fiji but the extent of the damage wrought to the low-lying atolls by Tropical Cyclone Gita remains to be seen.

Peni Butavaka - the head teacher at a school in one of the four villages on Onulevu island - told ABC News there was damage but fortunately, no casualties.

The 100-year-old parliament building in the Pacific nation of Tonga was destroyed by cyclone Gita, the worst storm to hit the country in more than 60 years, on Tuesday.

Pita Taufatofua, who has become an unlikely star of the past two Olympic Games thanks to his viral shirtlessness, said his family is safe after Cyclone Gita tore through Tonga on Tuesday. The roof of the Tonga Weather Office in the capital city of Nuku'alofa has been ripped off. The Tongan government declared a state of emergency on Monday, Feb. 12 and advised the public to stay off the roads.

As of late Tuesday local time, there had been no confirmed deaths, but there have been reports of serious injuries.

A community leader on the Fiji island of Ono-i-lau says the damaging winds from yesterday's cyclone Gita were the most frightening and unsafe on living memory on the island.

All public schools are closed this week as downed trees, storm debris and utility wires are removed from campuses.

Australia is also donating A$350,000 ($275,000) worth of emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits.

"The eye went over us, then we lost the meteorology office - it was blown away", Mr Kenna said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will contribute a further $1.5 million to help with the emergency response and early recovery efforts in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Tonga is made up of over 170 islands, and it is located in the South Pacific Ocean to the east of Fiji and North of New Zealand.

Gita had pummelled Samoa and American Samoa, about 900km to the northeast, over the weekend, flooding the Samoan capital, Apia.

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