State of emergency declared in Tonga as Kingdom braces for Cyclone Gita

A state of emergency has officially been declared in Tonga as the potentially-destructive Cyclone Gita bears down on it.

Cyclone Gita is currently a Category 4 but is expected to be a Category 5 when it hits Tonga about 7pm tonight.

Ofa Fa'anunu from the Tonga Meteorological service says Gita will be the strongest cyclone on record to hit the Kingdom.

He is warning the public to go to evacuation centres as soon as possible.

Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika today signed the state of emergency declaration due to "the destructive force winds and sea rises caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita".

"It is necessary for emergency powers to be exercised in order to prevent or minimise the loss of human life, illness or injury, property loss or damage, and damage to the environment," the declaration read.

The state of emergency will remain in effect for a month, unless terminated earlier by the Prime Minister.

The Tongan Community in New Zealand is watching on with anxiety.

"I think the worry is there, and everybody is braced to find out what the cyclone will do," Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka told 1 NEWS.

"If it hits Tongatapu as a Category 5 there will be a lot of damage.

"The last time there was a cyclone, it wasn’t a Category 5 and it did a lot of damage to the shoreline," Mr Maka said.

"It's quite frightening, we just have to wait and see how the cyclone tracks."

Schools and Govt departments are closed today - shops are open and many residents are stocking up on emergency supplies and equipment. 

Tonga's Meteorological Service has issues a Hurricane Warning for Tongatapu and 'Eua, as well as damaging swell, heavy rain and flash flooding warnings.

Category-5 storms are the top of the scale, with winds of more than 252km/h.

Cyclone Winston, a Category-5 tropical cyclone which formed in February of 2016, killed 44 people in Fiji, injured 126 more and destroyed or damaged 40,000 homes.

Forecasts are currently about half and half on whether the remnant of the storm will eventually make landfall in New Zealand next week.

A state of emergency has been declared. Source: 1 NEWS

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS



Expert outlines features of gaming addictions after called mental health condition

Gaming addiction was listed as a mental health condition for the first time by World Health Organisations earlier this year.

Dr Vladimir Poznyak who specialises in addiction said on TVNZ1's Breakfast today there are three essential features which allows them to diagnose that as a health condition. 

"First is when the control of this behaviour is being significantly impaired...they have difficulty in controlling or regulating this behaviour.

"Second is when the behaviour takes presidency over other daily activities and roles of the individual.

"The third one is when this behaviour continues or escalates in spite of the negative consequences of this behaviour."

The World Health Organisation do not currently have any evidence based recommendations on what will work to reduce the amount of problem with gaming addiction.

Dr Vladimir Poznyak of WHO tells Breakfast the reasons why gaming addictions have been declared a Mental Health Condition. Source: Breakfast


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Category-5 Cyclone Gita due to smash into Tonga today

Cyclone Gita, which has already caused extensive damage and flooding in Samoa, is now strengthening to a Category-5 tropical cyclone and is due to hit Tonga today.

Tonga's Meteorological Service has issues a Hurricane Warning for Tongatapu and 'Eua, as well as damaging swell, heavy rain and flash flooding warnings.

"Very destructive hurricane force winds are expected from this evening," the service warns.

Category-5 storms are the top of the scale, with winds of more than 252kmh.

Cyclone Winston, a Category-5 tropical cyclone which formed in February of 2016, killed 44 people in Fiji, injured 126 more and destroyed or damaged 40,000 homes.

Forecasts are currently about half and half on whether the remnant of the storm will eventually make landfall in New Zealand next week.

Cyclone Gita has already caused extensive flooding an damage in parts of Samoa, after hitting the island nation on Saturday.


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