Aerial images after fatal cyclone Ian hit

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Cyclone Ian swept into Ha’apai Islands on Saturday 11, killing one woman and causing widespread damage.

RNZF Orion crew took the images today after the cyclone hit.

The team of assessors sent to the area to assess the aftermath have today returned to Tongatapu and NEMO is working to analyse the data collected.

Tonga's Director of Emergencies Leveni ‘Aho was quoted by Tonga Broadcasting Commission as saying the impact of the cyclone at ‘Otumu’omu’a mainly the islands of Nomuka and Ha'afeva  was minimal.

The islands of ‘Uiha and Felemea however were devastated by the cyclone that struck with wind gusting up to 287km/h, 'Aho said.

Ha’apai group have 62 islands with only 23 inhabited and a full report on how the cyclone smashed into the whole of the Fo‘i‘one‘one  is expected to be available tomorrow.

The islands of Lofanga and Mo’unga’one at Lulunga were two of the most affected areas and they need urgent assistance, ‘Aho said.

As relief efforts started to flow in since Sunday morning, Digicel Company and the Mormon Church donated foods, shelters and medical supplies which arrived by plane at Lifuka this afternoon.

Tongan two navy patrol boats carried tarpaulins, tents and other emergency supplies.

With the intensity of Cyclone Ian subsiding, steps to restore snapped communication lines, power cables and rebuild damaged infrastructure including major work at Salote Pilolevu airport at Koulo started today.

The Fua’amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at its cyclone warning number 47 today said the tropical cyclone warning previously in force for Tonga is now cancelled.

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