TONGA—CYCLONE GITA IOM EMERGENCY RESPONSE (SITUATION REPORT 13 March 2018)
Tropical Depression named as Tropical Cyclone Gita (TC Gita) started as a Category 1 near Wallis and Futuna and struck Tonga as a Category 4 on 12 February 2018, south of the low-lying Tongatapu island group. The cyclone is the worst to hit Tonga in 60 years with widespread destruction of buildings, infrastructure, and disruption of water and electricity, due to storm surges, flooding and gale force winds. The Government estimates that almost 80,000 people (circa 70% of the population), were affected by the cyclone, with over 4,500 people displaced in 103 evacuation centers across the country. More than 1,600 houses were either partially damaged or destroyed, and there was limited access to clean water, vector control, solid waste management and a risk of outbreaks of dengue, diarrhea and typhoid. The Government led the response in an effective manner, having cleared debris, restored most basic services, and is currently transitioning to recovery and reconstruction phase. Early warnings were issued prior to cyclone and evacuation centres activated, which minimized the damage and ensured safety of the displaced communities. As of 13 March 2018, vast majority of the internally displaced have returned to their houses, initial humanitarian relief distributions are completed, various recovery-aimed assessments are underway, donors are pledging significant donations, and the Kingdom is moving towards normalcy.