Kingdom of Tonga: Tropical Cyclone Gita hammered Nuku’alofa, capital of Tonga in the evening of February 12 with heavy winds up to 215 km per hour (134 mph) and upwards of 250 millimeters (10 inches) of rainfall. The eye of the hurricane passed just south of Tongatapu group of islands in Southern Tonga. According to Fiji Meteorological Service, Gita’s central pressure was stronger than Hurricane Harvey when it made a landfall along the Texas coast in last August 2017. This is the worst storm that hit the country in 60 years. The Tongan government have declared a state of emergency on the Pacific Island.
Gita has caused severe damage to Tonga. There are extensive flooding and significant damage to property. All utilities in the islands were currently down and communication is a challenge. Roads were blocked by debris and a lot of uprooted trees and power lines. Government officials are still surveying the full extent of the damage caused by the storm.
Harmon Schmelzenbach, Melanesia – South Pacific Field Strategy Coordinator reported that our missionaries and the Mango Tree Respite Center staff in Tonga were all safe. They have been preparing since Saturday with plenty of fresh water and food and supplies. Communication is a challenge but he will continue to make an attempt to contact our people on the ground to know how we can better respond to the needs of the people in the area.
Typhoon Gita is also expected to pass near the Lau group of Southern Fiji on Tuesday, February 13.
Urgent Prayer Items:
- Please pray that Typhoon Gita will be over soon.
- Pray for our brothers and sisters in Tonga and Fiji, that God’s protection will be upon them in this difficult time.
- Please include our church leaders in the South Pacific field as they respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters who have been affected.