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The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland has expressed her deep concern and sympathy to the people of Tonga, after a category four cyclone ravaged the island.
Cyclone Gita devastated large swathes of the island overnight, damaging vital infrastructure and destroying its parliament building.
The storm, which reached record wind speeds of 124mph, also caused widespread damage to homes and churches.
Secretary-General Scotland said, “I am deeply saddened to see the devastation caused by Cyclone Gita last night, and my thoughts and prayers are with all Tongans affected.
“I commend the emergency services for their preparedness in establishing evacuation centres in advance of the cyclone, providing vital shelter to thousands of Tongans overnight, and helping to prevent serious injury or death.
“The Commonwealth stands steadfastly alongside the people of Tonga and will continue to work with all member countries to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to the devastating impacts of extreme weather and climate change.”.
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