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25 Feb 2018 10:49
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    NZ and Australia monitor path of Gita

    The New Zealand and Australian governments are monitoring the path of Cyclone Gita and stand ready to assist where it causes damage.

    Australia and New Zealand are closely monitoring tropical Cyclone Gita, which has caused flooding and wind damage in Samoa and is still building.

    At a meeting with her New Zealand counterpart, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said both countries had been briefed on the category-two cyclone in the south-west Pacific and were ready to assist.

    "We both stand ready to provide support should that be required," Ms Bishop told reporters in Auckland on Saturday.

    The cyclone has caused flooding, brought trees down and caused about 200 people to seek safety in evacuation centres in Samoa.

    On Saturday afternoon, UNICEF NZ tweeted: "We are monitoring the impact of Cyclone #Gita on Samoa, Niue, and Tonga, and ready to respond with emergency supplies if required."

    Kiwi website WeatherWatch said weather models suggested Gita would track further southward towards the New Zealand area next weekend, or early the following week.

    But it was too early to know if it would directly impact New Zealand's weather.

    The cyclone would be stronger than Cyclone Fehi, which caused extensive damage on New Zealand's West Coast last weekend.

    The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center says winds will increase much more in the coming days, forecasting sustained winds over 150km/h and gusts over 200km/h by mid next week.

    The forecast track turns clockwise before it starts moving westward next week, taking it north of New Zealand and close enough to require monitoring.

    It's expected to grow into a category-three tropical storm during the westward movement.

    Gita will pass near Niue on Saturday and then pass just to the south of Tonga.

    Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi says an adviser from New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has been sent to Samoa.

    "The aim is to help the response effort following the heavy rain and winds of Cyclone Gita, which caused flooding and damage across Samoa.

    "While we're hopeful the worst is over for Samoa, we're also concerned the cyclone is tracking towards Niue later today, and Tonga. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to all those affected in the Pacific."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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