25 Feb 2010

Tonga cyclone damage worse than first assessed

1:27 pm on 25 February 2010

The number of houses known to have been destroyed or damaged in last week's cyclone in Tonga continues to grow, with more than 450 affected in the island group of Vava'u.

The Tonga disaster management office says after assessments on the outer islands of Vava'u, 95 homes have been found to be destroyed and 370 damaged in Cyclone Rene.

This is in addition to more than 250 houses destroyed or damaged on the islands of Tongatapu, Eua and the Ha'apai group.

The deputy director of the disaster management office Maliu Takai says the cyclone assessment is still not complete, but he expects to submit a report to government within the next day.

He says that's likely to request more tents and tarpaulins as there are not adequate stocks in Tonga to cope.

"We are very concerned, we didn't expect this many houses. But we are concerned, because we don't have any stock in the outer islands. The tents are all here so we have to send tents from here to the outer islands."

Maliu Takai says tents were supposed to be shipped to Eua yesterday but that's been delayed.