15 Jan 2003

Tonga spared by cyclone Ami

4:26 pm on 15 January 2003

A disaster management official in Tonga says they are relieved that Cyclone Ami had little impact on the country.

Male'u Takai says the cyclone changed course and did not come within 150 kilometres of any Tongan islands.

He says there has been no significant infrastructural damage, although in some areas fallen branches have cut electricity supplies.

Mr Takai also says some fruit bearing trees and probably root crops have been affected, but they are still waiting on reports from agricultural officials.

He also says that the country's main ferry, the Olovaha, is stuck on a reef near the capital Nuku Alofa.

Mr Takai says they don't yet know the details of how the boat ended up on the reef, but he understands there is no one onboard.