Cyclone Gita, which accelerated into a category five storm, struck the Pacific country of Tonga, battering the Parliament House and other buildings, and parts of southern Fiji. Mechtild Rössler, Director of the World Heritage Centre, would like to express her condolences to the families who have endured losses during the storm.

Two sites, Lapita Pottery Archaeological Sites and The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga, are currently included on Tonga’s Tentative List and could potentially be proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List in the future. Levuka Historical Port Town is the only World Heritage site in Fiji, which did not sustain major damage during the storm.

A report on rapid damage assessment has been requested which will help Tonga determine follow up actions (eg. in-depth assessment, emergency assistance, recovery strategy development, etc.) in the coming weeks.