'Scared as hell!' - Cyclone Gita's ferocity captured on film as storm hits Tonga

Many residents in Tonga captured dramatic pictures as Cyclone Gita smashed into the island nation overnight.

Posted to social media, they were the first images to show the outside world the storm's ferocity.

One amateur reporter gave a running commentary in his video showcasing the cyclone's ferocity.

"This is Robert again reporting from Tonga, right on 12 o'clock, and the weather has picked up to a total different level. You can hear the trees are shaking.

"There's been advisory from the radio that no-one should be out here and I am as scared as hell as well!"

Another touching video showed a group bracing for the cyclone in a church, taking part in a song of prayer together.

Footage of the aftermath of the storm shows resilient Tongans already working to get the kingdom back on its feet.

Cyclone Gita is currently passing close to Fiji, affecting its southern islands.

The storm is expected to make its way closer to New Zealand later this week but the exact path is not yet known.

Many residents in the Pacific nation documented the extreme weather event. Source: 1 NEWS

Vodafone providing free calls, texts to cyclone-hit Tonga, launches text donations

Telco Vodafone is providing free calls and texts to cyclone-ravaged Tonga for 48 hours and enabling text donations to a Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund.

Vodafone Consumer Director Matt Williams says with Cyclone Gita being labelled the worst storm to hit Tonga in 60 years, it's important for the company to open up the lines.

He says with reports of widespread devastation, Vodafone doesn't want people with family and friends in Tonga worrying about how they have fared, so is making it as easy as possible for them to get in touch. 

From 5pm this evening, all calls and texts to Tonga will be free for 48 hours for all Vodafone customers. 

That includes all Vodafone mobile plans such as prepay, as well as business customers and home phones.

Call and text credits will be automatically applied to customers' accounts on the next plan cycle, Mr Williams said.

"We'd recommend texting for the time being, as this is a lighter load for networks to manage," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation has moved to set up a Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund text to donate campaign, to get aid to the region as quickly as possible.

Cyclone Gita hit Tonga overnight leaving widespread destruction including flooding and power outages. Source: 1 NEWS

Texting RED CROSS to 4644 will enable an automatic $3 donation to the Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund, regardless of which mobile provider you are with. 

The Vodafone Foundation says its text to donate campaign will see 100 per cent of all money donated go directly to the disaster response. 

Follow 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of Cyclone Gita.

Kathryn Dalziel says you should only use your cellphone in a meeting when conducting business.
Source: Breakfast


Cyclone Gita barrels across Tonga while moisture from Tropics causes rain across parts of the North Island

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update.

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS