'People are banding together, that's what Tonga does best' - Clean up begins in cyclone-hit Tonga

The New Zealand airforce Orion is surveying the damage after Tropical Cyclone Gita tore through Tonga on Monday night.

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, "Some areas are a lot worse hit than others" following the disaster.

The Orion's bird's eye view of the affected areas lets the Tongan authorities know which areas to provide aid to first.

The storm also pounded Fiji's southernmost islands. Source: 1 NEWS

"People are banding together - that's what Tonga does best so people are going to neighbours' houses and so forth," she said. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will contribute a further $1.5 million to help with the emergency response and early recovery efforts in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The money is on top of the $750,000 that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

Pacific correspondent Ms Dreaver was sheltering on the floor during Cyclone Gita before it got flooded. Source: 1 NEWS

"A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this," Mr Peters said.

Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver reports the relief effort after Cyclone Gita. Source: 1 NEWS