Video: Raw footage shows Tonga's Parliament House flattened by Gita's fury

The morning sun rise has revealed devatation across Tonga, with among the most dire early images those of Tonga's Parliament House in Nuku'alofa, which has been totally flattened.

Parliament House in Tonga.
Parliament House in Tonga. Source: Supplied

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver recorded a short video outside Tonga's Parliament House this morning.

Heart-breaking images of the previously sturdy Parliament House show the true power of Cyclone Gita.
Source: 1 NEWS

The damage is concerning because Parliament House was among the island's most sturdy buildings.

Early photos and videos are showing widespread destruction across Tonga's two main islands.

Follow the latest news on this unfolding tragedy in our LIVE rolling coverage.

Forecaster Philip Duncan on if any of Gita’s remnants will hit New Zealand. Source: Breakfast

The Prime Minister said she just spoke to Winston Peters and Cyclone Gita relief funds for Tonga are "all signed off". Source: 1 NEWS

Other Tonga videos from this morning:

Heart-breaking images of the previously sturdy Parliament House show the true power of Cyclone Gita. Source: 1 NEWS



'We tried to tell ourselves we were fine but we were not' - anxious account of Cyclone Gita's onslaught in Tonga

A first-hand account of the havoc Cyclone Gita wrought on Tonga overnight has been described to 1 NEWS by a French ex-pat anxiously sheltering in her Nuku'alofa home.

Virginie Dourlet spent a nerve-wracking night in the Tongan capital, as the bottom floor of her home was flooded and she waited with her landlord and his four children on the second floor.

1 NEWS reporter shows you how Tongans are readying for category 5 storm. Source: 1 NEWS

Their fear was that their roof would be stripped off by the storm.

"Very frightening, we tried to tell ourselves we were fine but we were not, you know," Ms Dourlet said.

"I guess we were mostly concerned about the roof but actually we were concerned for all the wrong reasons."

Ms Dourlet said the worst of the extreme weather conditions occurred for a two hour period from midnight to 2am.

Standing on her veranda in the pre-dawn Nuku'alofa hours this morning (around 5.45am NZDT), Ms Dourlet said the conditions are much improved.

"It's still windy but much, much less. It's much better (than last night), I'm outside and you can hear me," she said.

Her neighbourhood, however, she said had sustained significant damage.

"It's raining again though it had stopped earlier, and although it's still dark I can see there's a fair bit of destruction on my street," Ms Dourlet said.

"From what I can tell right now and from what I have heard so far, it looks like all the houses directly around me are still standing, there are three downed polls leaning very awkwardly but still standing, not fallen.

"There's water absolutely everywhere. One end of the street is blocked by two fallen trees.

"A corrugated iron fence has been pushed from its original place to the the street."

 Ms Dourlet has lived in Tonga for the past five years, and says this was "definitely" the worst weather conditions she has experience on the Pacific island nation - including Cyclone Winston in 2016.

The view of Virginie Dourlet's flooded backyard in Nuku'alofa after Cyclone Gita hit overnight. Source: Supplied

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Cyclone Gita hurtles through Tonga, leaving path of destruction

Cyclone Gita is has now begun to move away from Tonga.

Gita was the strongest cyclone to come this close to the main islands of Tonga in the last recorded 60 years.

Next will be the clean-up and there are already serious concerns around water contamination because of the amount of debris. 

The weather system is packing winds of more than 200km/h. Source: 1 NEWS

Virginie Sini, who live tweeted the storm, wrote at 4.45am (local time): Woke up from a nap and had a look. No more rain (at the moment) and much less wind. It's too dark for image but my street is a swimming pool, blocked at least to the left by broken trees & what used to be a corrugated iron fence. My mosquito screen was ripped off."

Read here how Gita brought destructive winds, heavy rain and a dangerous ocean storm surge to Tonga. 

The cyclone is predicted to reach Category 5 status when the eye passes over at midnight. Source: 1 NEWS

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