Tonga under curfew as kingdom braces for fury of Cyclone Gita

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Tonga under curfew as kingdom braces for fury of Cyclone Gita

By Kalino Latu, editor of Kaniva News

An overnight curfew was in place in Tonga tonight as the kingdom awaited the full force of Cyclone Gita, which was threatening to become a devastating category five storm.

Tropical Cyclone Gita bearing down on Tonga. Image:

Tonga Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell ordered a curfew in the central business district area of the capital Nuku’alofa between 9pm and 7am tomorrow.

The following roads set the perimetre for the CBD area – Tupoulahi Road to the east,
Mateialona Road to the south, Vaha’akolo Road to the west and Vuna Road to
the north.

READ MORE: TV One News’ Barbara Dreaver in the eye of the storm

“This is to further protect people and property, and we ask for public understanding and common sense to be used at this time.”

No one is allowed to enter the Nuku’alofa central business area apart from members of the Tropical Cyclone Gita Emergency Response Team.

Those who live within the CBD area were being urged to stay indoors, or get to an evacuation centre as soon as possible.

“We are urging people to seek refuge from this severe cyclone that could be the most powerful in the country’s history,” said Commissioner Caldwell.

Tongan Defence Service troops preparing for Tropical Cyclone Gita. Image: Matangi Tonga

Police patrols will be joined by Tonga’s Armed Forces for full coverage of Tongatapu to ensure community awareness, public safety and to evacuate as necessary.

Key safety messages to the public:

  • Keep yourself and your family safe
  • Keep off the road
  • Stay at home if it’s safe
  • Get to an Evacuation Centre as soon as possible with food and water
  • Keep away from the Coastline
  • Make sure you have water, food, candles, torches, medical kit if you have them
  • Charge cell phones for emergency
  • Keep indoors, and away from flying debris

Republished with permission from Kaniva News.

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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.

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Mata’afa Keni Lesa: Cyclone Gita’s over but remember Ofa’s vengeance

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Mata’afa Keni Lesa: Cyclone Gita’s over but remember Ofa’s vengeance

OPINION: By Mata’afa Keni Lesa, editor of the Samoa Observer

Tropical Cyclone Gita has left just as quickly as it arrived on Friday night and yesterday morning.

Within six hours, it left hundreds of people devastated as a result of strong winds and flooding. Folks, it sends shivers down the spine to think what more damage it could have done if it stayed on a bit longer.

While it was predicted to be a Category 1 Cyclone, it felt more like a Category 3 at its strongest. We doubt many people had a decent sleep when the cyclone was at its peak.

READ MORE: NZ and Australia monitor path of Cyclone Gita after heavy damage in Samoa

The howling winds, the heavy rain and the floods that accompanied them were truly scary. Thank God it didn’t last long.

Mind you, for many people badly affected by heavy flooding, its irrelevant that Cyclone Gita was only in Samoa for a few hours. Heavy downpours for several days have once more taken its toll.

The flooding we again witnessed yesterday has to be among some of the worst we’ve seen in this country.

The worst affected areas appear to have been places close to the menacing Vaisigano river, which again showed just how devastating it can be in times like this.

Another Cyclone Evan
Looking at some of the early pictures
of the damage done, this is another Cyclone Evan and more. Images taken from other villages away from Apia showed that flooding was a major part of this cyclone and perhaps even more devastating than the winds.

When it comes to flooding, we thought we’d seen the worst during Cyclone Evan when it decimated areas like Lelata, Fa’atoiaand Vaisigano. Obviously not. This time it reached a lot more places – including as far as Moata’a.

And if scientists and climate change related predictions are anything to go by, flooding is something we will just have to get used to.

Truth be told, I guess the disappointment will have to be that the progress of work to try and avoid what happened during Cyclone Evan has not been quick enough to avoid a repeat.The fact is the same people who suffered back in 2012 have again been hit the hardest. It is heartbreaking to see.

Images of the damage that has again been done to iconic places like the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel are just heartbreaking. It was only a few years ago that they managed to recover from Evan and now they have been hit again.

And spare a thought for many other families in the areas – many of them having had to be evacuated.

The good news is that we have not been told of any casualties yet. When this piece was compiled last night, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi confirmed that no report of any casualty has been brought to their attention.

But let’s not be complacent.

It is true that Cyclone Gita is moving away from us. But lessons from the past should always be a reminder to us that it’s not over until it is really over.

Remember what happened during Cyclone Ofa? Just when we thought that the worst was over, Ofa returned with a vengeance.

This is today’s editorial in the Samoa Observer.

Gallery: Stay away from flooded areas, Samoa police warn after Cyclone Gita

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Gallery: Stay away from flooded areas, Samoa police warn after Cyclone Gita

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Tropical Cyclone Gita might be slowing moving away from Samoa but the danger is far from over and a state of disaster has been declared.

Gita, which has been lashing both Samoa and American Samoa with torrential rain and damaging winds, was upgraded to a category two as it caused flooding, landslides and blocked roads, reports Radio NZ.

The Samoa Observer reports police have warned people to take extra care.

“We urge members of the public to remain vigilant as we are experiencing rough weather due to cyclone Gita,” a police statement said in Apia.

“We advise families to remain indoors and not drive around Apia town area or near bridges and rivers. Flooding remains effective for all areas of Samoa.

“Overflowing rivers should not be crossed and we urge drivers not to put their lives or others at risk by trying to do so.”

Pictures of Cyclone Gita are from the Samoa Metereological Division.

Cyclone Gita hits Samoa

1. Street flooding in the capital Apia..

2. Apia street flooding.

3. Man wading with jandals.

4. Flooded palms in Apia.

5. Rooftop dumped by the wind gusts.

6. Flattened World Rugby league sign.

7. Rain squall streaks.

8. Wading in downtown Apia. Apia.

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VIDEO Paul Buchanan and Selwyn Manning: Message from America – Climate Change and the Threat of a Korean War: Trumps Defining Moment

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: VIDEO Paul Buchanan and Selwyn Manning: Message from America – Climate Change and the Threat of a Korean War: Trumps Defining Moment

Message from America – Climate Change and the Threat of a Korean War: Trumps Defining Moment. In this episode Dr Paul G. Buchanan and Selwyn Manning discuss Hurricane Irma and its devastating track across the Caribbean and its looming threat on Florida.

Will this, the latest in a series of severe Atlantic born storms cause US President Donald Trump to accept Climate Change is real?

Also, how should Trump handle the intensifying nuclear threat from North Korea?

Is there a role for New Zealand, as an independent Pacific Island state, to broker talks between North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, and the United States similar to the Five Nations talks of the 2000s?

Is a multilateral response via the United Nations a better way forward for independent states rather than forward-committing to a US-led conflict should hostilities intensify further?

MIL Video: This video is copyright to Paul G. Buchanan ( and Multimedia Investments Ltd (MIL) (

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 25 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues.
Selwyn is former co-founder of 36th Parallel Assessments ( and has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia’s FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

Across the Ditch: Remants of Cyclone Debbie Drenches New Zealand + Ram Raid Artwork Heist

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Across the Ditch: Remants of Cyclone Debbie Drenches New Zealand + Ram Raid Artwork Heist

Across the Ditch: Australia radio’s Peter Godfrey and’s Selwyn Manning deliver their weekly bulletin Across the Ditch. This week Weather + Headlines + Cyclone Debbie Downgraded but the deluge has drenched New Zealand.

Weather + Headlines

ITEM ONE – Debbie Deluge Hits New Zealand

New Zealand has been whacked by what is left of Cyclone Debbie, with heavy rainstorms and gales causing havoc mainly in the North Island.

– Landslips occurred in Auckland suburb Kohimarama, initially sparking fears two people were buried under metres of mud. Residents of apartments in the area want to know if the cliffs around Auckland’s eastern city suburbs are stable and safe.

– On Auckland’s North Shore, some homes with multimillion dollar views on the cliff’s edge were in danger of slipping into the sea. A resident reported Wednesday that he woke up to realise half of his backyard was gone and had collapsed into the Hauraki Gulf.

– Flooding occurred in Whanganui on the Central North Island’s west coast.

It is the second time in two years that a supposed one in two hundred year storm has caused floods and a state of civil emergency in that region. The Whanganui River has come close to breaching its 9 metre banks. People have been evacuated from their homes.

A woman driving beside the Waikato River near Ngaruawhahia, about an hour south of Auckland, had her car slide into the river.

She managed to get out and get to the river bank before her car was submerged. Sadly, Police said, no one came to her aid and one person Stodden there filming the woman’s plight on their cellphone.

ITEM TWO – Art Ram Raid Heist

Two art works depicting Maori portraits and valued at around $1 million combined, were stolen this week during a ram raid on an Auckland international art dealership shop.

It’s an interesting story that has caused local Maori to question whose relatives were the subjects in the portraits.

  • Here’s a link to the article in the NZHerald.
  • RNZI remains ‘essential voice of the Pacific’, says broadcaster

    MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

    Headline: RNZI remains ‘essential voice of the Pacific’, says broadcaster

    Article by

    Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu. He says shortwave broadcasts from RNZI during Cyclone Pam allowed him to warn four villages. Image: Koroi Hawkins/RNZI

    Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) continues to serve people across the Pacific region, delivering essential day to day news and information and providing a vital lifeline in times of natural disaster, says the public broadcaster.

    Chief executive Paul Thompson confirmed that there would be no reduction in Radio New Zealand’s commitment to its Pacific broadcast partners.

    His reassurance came as Radio Australia closed its international shortwave transmission service to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

    Paul Thompson emphasised the importance of RNZI’s 25-year relationship with New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours.

    “People in remote parts of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who may be feeling the loss of the ABC can rest assured RNZI will continue to provide independent, timely and accurate news, information and weather warnings as well as entertainment to its Pacific listeners,” he said.

    RNZI has been broadcasting since 1990 to the Pacific and says it is regarded as the “authoritative voice of the Pacific”.

    It can be heard across the region and has proven to be a vital lifeline during times of disaster.

    Station of the year
    In 2007, RNZI was named international Radio Station of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB).

    RNZI broadcasts timely cyclone and tsunami warnings via shortwave and can continue to be heard should local broadcasters go off-air due to a cyclone or other disaster.

    Paul Thompson said the essential nature of Radio New Zealand’s role in the Pacific had been regularly underlined by the positive feedback to RNZI following cyclone and tsunami alerts.

    “A Vanuatu villager has told our reporter Koroi Hawkins that he knew to take shelter during Cyclone Pam just because of the warnings broadcast on RNZI. At times like this we are the essential voice of the Pacific,” Thompson said.

    RNZI’s coverage of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015 won RNZI reporter Koroi Hawkins a silver medal at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards in 2016.

    RNZI broadcasts in digital and analogue short wave to radio stations and individual listeners across the Pacific region.

    About 20 Pacific radio stations relay RNZI material daily, and individual short-wave listeners and internet users across the world tune in directly to RNZI content.

    The RNZI signal can sometimes be heard as far away as Japan, North America, the Middle East and Europe. RNZI also provides rich content for online users through our website.

    Media release: Following the ABC’s decision to cut shortwave radio transmission in the Pacific, Radio New Zealand International issued the above statement to reassure its listeners that it is committed to its Pacific broadcast partners.

    Radio NZ International