Cyclone Tino: 3000 without power in Tonga’s Ha’apai group

This story by RNZ.co.nz is republished with permission.

About 3000 people remain without power in Tonga’s Ha’apai group because of damage inflicted by Cyclone Tino over the weekend.

The storm, which reached category three cyclone status, wreaked havoc in parts of the central South Pacific over the past week.

Ha’apai’s governor, the Reverend Mohenoa Puloka, said while damage to housing had been minimal and there was no loss of life, a major causeway connecting the two largest islands in the group had been badly damaged.

Mr Puloka said the causeway connected Lifuka, where the hospital and airport is, with the island of Foa.

“The causeway is also the arm through which the electricity line is passed over from Lifuka to the other side of the bridge and right now it is still not working, there’s no power in that part of the island.”

Mr Puloka said it might be a couple of days before power could be restored.

He also said it would be at least a week before the causeway could be used for traffic.

“It needs reframing…A new foundation to that part of the bridge that was broken and we just ask people to hold on their communication, their transportation, and for those who have urgent needs they will have to use a boat.”

Tonga’s Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’ionetoa visited Ha’apai today to assess the damage and an announcement on assistance was expected within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea’s government is to provide relief funds to Pacific countries affected by Cyclone Tino.

Citing the “unfortunate situation” created by the cyclone in Tuvalu and Fiji, PNG’s Prime Minister said his government stood ready to help.

James Marape said PNG would commit $US860,000 in relief assistance to its close neighbours affected by Tino, and expressed his sympathies to those affected.

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