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14:46, 13 February 2018

Cyclone destroys Parliament House of Tonga, moves to Fiji

AKIPRESS.COM - The parliament building in the Pacific country of Tonga has been destroyed by the worst storm to hit the country in more than 60 years, BBC reported.

Cyclone Gita, a category four storm, battered the island overnight and caused widespread damage.

Electricity lines were downed and roofs were torn off houses by the high winds.

The government declared a state of emergency before the storm hit, and set up evacuation centres where thousands of people stayed overnight.

"The wind was terrifying. It was roaring overhead. We could hear roofs being lifted," witness Mary Fonua told Radio New Zealand.

"I could see the people across the road, their roof was flapping around the house, it was trying to disintegrate. I think a lot of people were very desperate last night."

The UK Met Office said the storm - which brought winds of more than 200km/h (124mph) - was the strongest to hit the main islands of Tonga since modern records began.

Tonga's parliament building is more than 100 years old. It is not yet clear where MPs will sit while it is being repaired.

One MP, Lord Fusitu'a, told ABC News that the damage was "a great disappointment".


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