Tuesday, 16 February 2010 12:57 PM

Tonga and Cook Islands Recover in Aftermath of Cyclones

Cyclones struck Tongatapu in Tonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands with heavy winds and rain damaging vegetation, properties and public utilities.

According to the Matangi Tonga Online, Cyclone Rene brought stinging horizontal rain and gusts reaching top speeds of 85 knots at which left one ship on the reef and damaged trees, gardens and property, and power lines in Tongatapu yesterday.

According to the report, 'most buildings and homes survived with little structural damage, but the wind wrecked gardens and crops' and fruit 'stalls and flimsy structures at the markets and on the sea front were destroyed'.

Meanwhile, Cook Islands, who also experienced a cyclone last week, is also recovering from the effects.
Cyclone Pat caused widespread destruction, according to the Cook Islands Herald, 'with early estimates suggesting that up to 90 percent of buildings have sustained damage'.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province