Tonga

Tonga, PNG 7s on track to reach World Series qualifier

Tonga ended on a winning note in Viña del Mar after beating Zimbabwe 19-14 in the playoff for fifth place, have earlier come from behind to defeat Uganda by the same scoreline.

Meanwhile PNG finished in a share of seventh place, having lost 26-19 to Zimbabwe in the previous round.

Both teams were knocked out of title contention in the quarter finals, with PNG outclassed 29-0 by Germany and Tonga overwhelmed 28-7 by host's Chile in the first knockout round.

Effective outbreak response reduces the risk of measles spread in the Pacific

For Samoa, the country experienced a widescale measles outbreak which had significant impact upon the country’s population and health system.

The disease has cost lives, with infants and young children being most affected.

In response to the identification of measles in the region, many Pacific countries and areas have made serious efforts to close immunity gaps in their population and strengthen infectious disease prevention, surveillance and response systems.

Tonga's main island spared full strength of Tino

The storm was expected to pass directly over Tongatapu overnight with the capital, Nuku'alofa on track to take a direct hit, instead the cyclone just passed to the North of Tongatapu without its high winds and heavy rain.

But the northern Tongan groups of Vava'u and Ha'apai were being hammered by destructive storm force winds and torrential downpours, with gusts estimated at 180km/hr yesterday.

Evacuation centres opened as Tonga braces for Cyclone Tino

 

The storm was upgraded to a category three on Saturday morning, as it continued to intensify in the waters near Fiji's Lau group, with sustained winds predicted to increase to as much as 140km/h in the coming hours.

The cyclone showed little sign of relenting, said Stephen Meke, a forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service, and was on track to pass very close to, or even directly over, Tonga's main island Tongatapu and the low-lying capital, Nuku'alofa.

Cyclone Tino now a Category two storm

Disaster authorities in Fiji are expecting Cyclone Tino to make landfall at Udu Point, the northernmost part of Vanua Levu, before midnight.

The Category two Cyclone continues to strengthen as it moves Southeast at 28km/hr.

The director of the Fiji Disaster Management Office said they have pre-positioned some relief supplies with the disaster commissioner for the Northern Division that can be used as soon as the cyclone passes over Vanua Levu.

Evacuation centres opened as Cyclone Tino aims for Fiji, Tonga

Meanwhile, preparations are underway in Tonga with the capital, Nuku'alofa, sitting directly in Tino's path.

The cyclone, which was upgraded to a category one early on Friday morning, was strengthening as it sat the south of Fiji's western Rotuma island, the Fiji Meteorological Service said.

But it was gathering strength as it moved southeast, where it was heading straight for Fiji's second-largest island, Vanua Levu.

Warnings had been issued for much of the country, with torrential rain, strong winds, and damaging swells forecast.

2020 Polynesian Leaders meeting postponed

The group, which was established in 2011, consists of independent or self-governing countries or territories within the geographical region of Polynesia.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said because of measles outbreaks in the Pacific, it was prudent to postpone the meeting that was to be held 28-29 January.

In a letter, Lolo said there was "great sensitivity" around the health crisis that might continue into 2020.

The summit is now scheduled for 14-16 April.

Australia welcomes Pacific security leaders

The conference, hosted by the Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell AO DSC, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece P Kershaw APM, and Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram APM, facilitated strategic-level dialogue and demonstrated capabilities relevant to security agencies across the region.

The themes for the event focused on transnational, organised and serious crime; border security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Pacific nations call on World Rugby to do more

Fiji were the last Pacific side to reach the quarter finals in 2007 and bowed out of contention at the current tournament with a narrow defeat by Japan on Wednesday.

Between the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the start of the current tournament Fiji played eight tests against so-called tier one nations, winning three and losing five.

That included victory over France in Paris last year which lifted the Flying Fijians to a best ever eighth place in the world rankings.

Ten years on from Samoas most devastating tsunami

2009's 8.3 magnitude quake was the most powerful that year and struck shortly before 7am (New Zealand time. (30 Sept in NZ)

RNZI reports the subsequent tsunami waves killed 189 people. 149 in Samoa, 31 in American Samoa and nine in Tonga.

Memorial church services are being held to commemorate the tragedy.