A state of emergency has been declared in Tonga as the country prepares for the arrival of what could be the strongest cyclone to ever hit the country.
Tropical Cyclone Gita is currently a category four storm but it is expected to intensify into a category-five storm as it heads for Tonga’s main island Tongatapu and the capital Nuku’alofa, generating winds of more than 200 kilometres an hour.
Local authorities said people on Tongatapu would start to feel Gita’s fury this evening and it would continue on Monday night.
Tongan Police confirmed the entire main island of Tongatapu was without power
The Government declared a national state of emergency and police in Nuku’alofa said there would be a curfew in place on Monday night to keep people off the streets.
They urged people to stay indoors or get to an evacuation centre or a church as soon as possible.
At the Pacific Timber and Hardware store in Nuku’alofa, employee Mele Taione said business had been brisk, with lots of people buying plywood and tarpaulins.
“Everyone is worried, busy, getting things done to get ready for the cyclone, get their house prepared for everything.”