Tropical Cyclone Kofi Side-swipes Tonga, as Fiji Counts the Cost

The tropical depression that battered Fiji last week has moved away toward the Tonga islands, and has been reclassified to a Category One Tropical Cyclone.

Tonga

Cyclone Kofi (16P) has been moving in a southeastward direction and on Saturday was predicted to pass about 50km (30mi) west of the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa.

By Sunday morning Kofi was reported to be located 185km (115mi) south of Nuku’alofa moving in a south-southeastward direction away from the Tonga. It was forecast to lie approximately 300km (188mi) south-southeast of the Tongan capital by 7pm local time. On Sunday afternoon a cyclone warning was still in place for the waters south of Tongaapu and Eua, but had been cancelled for land areas of Tongatapu, Eua and Ha’apai.

Tonga after Cyclone Kofi - Photo TeenaBrownPulu @ Twitter
Tonga after Cyclone Kofi – Photo TeenaBrownPulu @ Twitter

In January, Tonga’s Ha’apai island group was hit by Cyclone Ian, which resulted in the death of one person and over 1,000 buildings being destroyed.

Tonga after Cyclone Kofi - Photo TeenaBrownPulu @ Twitter
Tonga after Cyclone Kofi – Photo TeenaBrownPulu @ Twitter

Fiji

Meanwhile, a heavy rain warning and a strong wind warning remain in place for Fiji’s Lau group. The Fiji Meteorological Service has indicated that heavy rain may still cause flash floods in parts of the group, according to its update at 8pm local time on Sunday. It added that rains are expected to ease over the Southern Lau group from Monday morning.

Residents of two villages in the Naitasiri province of Fiji have agreed to relocate to higher ground after all eighty homes in Sawani were flooded last week, and half the village of Dalilasekau was left underwater by floodwaters rushing through. Access to the villages was re-opened on Saturday, and the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was able to visit Dalilasekau on Saturday, telling the residents that they will be able to relocate once the government secures new village sites.

The Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) is undertaking survey and repair work to restore power in the Central/Eastern division, but technicians have been unable to reach some areas over the weekend owing to landslides and road closures. Power is expected to be restored on the Korovou to Dawasamu stretch and the Korovou to Naiyala, Tonia and Vunidawa stretches on Monday.

The Water Authority of Fiji said Sunday that it is still has five water trucks carting water to customers in the greater Suva area who have been without water since last Thursday’s flooding.

Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Brij Lal has confirmed that all schools in the Central/Eastern division will resume normal classes on Monday, after most were closed last Thursday owing to heavy rains and flooding.

The body of a 54-year old man who went missing with his 5-year old granddaughter in the Qariki river at Visama, Nakelo, last Friday, has been found by police a few metres from where they fell into the flooded river while reportedly trying to use a tree trunk as a bridge. Police are continuing the search for the girl.

DISMAC Director Manasa Tagicakibau expressed regret at the loss, adding that any and all advice during natural disasters must be taken seriously, especially to stay indoors during a natural disaster.

Displaced

Accroding tot the Fiji Times, 800 people are still living in the 17 evacuation centres that remain open. Many of whom are from the highlands of Naitasiri who evcuated from the floods on Thursday and Friday last week.

Sources: ABC Australia; Accuweather; Radio NZ; FBC; Yahoo News