Australia said on Thursday it stood ready to help nearby Pacific Island nations in the aftermath of a powerful cyclone that has cut a path through a region already under restricted movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Cyclone Harold, a category 5 storm packing winds in excess of 251 km/h, hit Tonga early on Thursday, cutting power and destroying popular holiday resorts. Tonga Police posted images of flattened beachfront resort buildings on its official Twitter page.
The storm has already passed through Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, flattening homes, cutting communication lines and bringing high seas. Dozens of people were killed when they were swept off a ferry off the Solomon Islands.