More than 300 Fijians in Tonga were last night preparing for the worst as Tropical Cyclone Gita headed for the main island, Tongatapu.
A former Fijian journalist, Iliesa Tora, who resides in Nukualofa said:
“We have been advised to stock up food and other basic supplies, people have started to put up shutters and shops in main urban areas are now closed.”
The Fijian community, Mr Tora said was mostly in Tonga for work purposes.
“We are really concerned and the Fijian community here has started preparations,” Mr Tora said.
“Now we are just waiting for what will happen next, most people from the Fijian community stay with their employers, especially those who do domestic work.”
The Tongan Government has declared a state of emergency.
According to the Acting Prime Minister, Semisi Sika it was necessary to be exercised in order to prevent damage and loss of lives.
Mr Tora said that the Tongan Government had given a directive that all schools be closed.
“With schools closed our children are all at home,” he added.
Another Fijian residing in Nukualofa, 34-year-old, Raijeli Waivure said they would move into a nearby evacuation centre with her family.
Originally from Naitasiri, she had been working as a cashier at a supermarket in Logologo in Nukualofa for the past five years.
“We have stocked up food supplies and bottled water because shops are closing down; we are trying to get in contact with other Fijians here in Tonga just to see if they are safe,” she said.
“I am really worried because I have seen how a category five cyclone can damage a small island nation like Tropical Cyclone Winston did to Fiji. That is why we have started preparations early.”