Tonga declares state of emergency to face looming wrath of Cyclone Gita

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Tonga declares state of emergency to face looming wrath of Cyclone Gita

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Tonga has declared a state of emergency today in preparation for severe Tropical Cyclone Gita as it threatens to hit the southern part of the kingdom with a potential category 5 force tonight, reports Matangi Tonga.

Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika announced the state of emergency at 10am, saying this was due to the destructive force winds and expected sea level rise brought by Gita.

The tropical cyclone, which has already caused widespread destruction in Samoa and American Samoa, is expected to hit Tonga about 7pm.

The state of emergency is to help prevent or minimise loss of lives, injury, damage to property and the environment, Matangi Tonga reported.

READ MORE: Tonga declares state of emergency – Matangi Tonga

Earlier, Kaniva Tonga reported that Tonga’s Minister of Police Māteni Tapueluelu said police had forced a hardware supplier to close down yesterday for breaching the country’s Sunday laws.

The minister said Pacific Timber and Hardware “opened without permission this morning [Sunday] and we had it closed down.”

His response came after Kaniva News reported yesterday two hardware suppliers opened temporarily for the public with Cyclone Gita approaching but they had no permits to do so.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Tsunami threat called off for PNG, Solomon Islands

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Tsunami threat called off for PNG, Solomon Islands

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off Papua New Guinea, but there were no reports of casualties or damage after a potential tsunami did not happen.

The United States Geological Survey downgraded the quake from an initial measurement of magnitude 8. It struck some 47km west of Arawa on the north coast of Bougainville Island at a depth of 154km today, the USGS reported.

An initial tsunami alert for several Pacific islands was wound back to cover just PNG and the neighbouring Solomon Islands. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center later said the tsunami threat had passed safely for those countries.

Quakes are common within the area which sits on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Loti Yates, director of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office, said people had been told to move to higher ground in Choiseul and Western Province.

Chris McKee, assistant director at PNG’s Geophysical Observatory Office in Port Moresby, said there were no initial reports of damage or casualties from near the epicentre of the quake, which is sparsely populated.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre earlier said there was no threat to Australia, and New Zealand confirmed there was no danger to its coastlines.