The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland has expressed her deep concern and sympathy to the people of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga after a category four cyclone ravaged the Pacific Islands region.
Cyclone Gita devastated large swathes of the region, damaging vital infrastructure and destroying Tonga’s parliament building.
The storm, which reached record wind speeds of 124mph, also caused widespread damage to homes and churches.
Secretary-General Scotland said, “I want to say how distressed and saddened I am to see the devastation caused over recent days in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga by Tropical Cyclone Gita. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.
I commend the emergency services for their preparedness in establishing evacuation centres in advance of the cyclone, providing vital shelter to thousands, and helping to prevent serious injury or death.
The Commonwealth stands steadfastly alongside the people of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
We will continue to work with them, and with the governments and people of all other Commonwealth member countries, to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to the devastating impacts of extreme weather and climate change.