16 Feb 2010

Power and water are off on Tonga's Ha'apai group

8:54 am on 16 February 2010

Power and water are off and there's been damage to homes in Tonga's Ha'apai group following the bashing of Cyclone Rene.

The cyclone damaged houses and crops on Tonga's Vava'u group of islands before hitting Ha'apai in the afternoon and then the main island of Tongatapu last night.

A hurricane warning remains in force for Ata, while a gale warning remains for Tongatapu, Ha'apai, Nomuka groups, Eua and nearby smaller islands, but the Fiji metservice says the cyclone has weakened and is moving towards open seas.

Laura Jeffery is in Ha'apai and says there's been some damage.

"The cyclone came through. There was a moment in the middle, about ten minutes where everything went calm and the wind calmed down and the rain stopped and then about ten fifteen minutes later it picked up again. There's a bit of damage on plantations and some minor damage to homes. The power and water is all off. They are working on it today and hope to get it [back on] tomorrow."

Laura Jeffery says fallen trees are also blocking some roads.