Reports of casualties in Tonga after Cyclone Harold tears through Pacific

Source: 1News

There are reports of casualties in Tonga this afternoon after Cyclone Harold, bringing with it 190km/h winds and severe flooding, hit the kingdom overnight.

1 NEWS understands there have been casualties in the Kingdom but because of strained communications due to damage caused by Harold, exact figures and information isn't confirmed.

Harold has already claimed the lives of 27 people in the Solomon Islands who were washed overboard from a crowded ferry due to dangerous conditions caused by the cyclone.

The cyclone has now begun to move away from Tonga and has regressed once again to a category four level storm, allowing Tonga along with Fiji and Vanuatu - the three Pacific nations worst hit by Harold this week - to begin assessing damage and costs.

1 NEWS understands the Fijian island of Kadavu was directly hit, leaving behind widespread damage and homes destroyed.

So far, the New Zealand Government has sent a NZDF aircraft to aid Vanuatu in surveillance operations and confirmed yesterday a second aircraft stocked with essential supplies was ready for deployment if required.