By Linny Folau
Liku‘alofa Beach Resort, on Tongatapu's southwest Sunset Coast, was demolished by severe Tropical Cyclone Harold (category 4) when it hit Tongatapu in the early hours of Thursday, April 9.
A powerful storm surge driven by the cyclone that passed south of Tonga, and an incoming king tide, slammed the coast demolishing beach side cottages, events complexes and residences.
HMAF soldiers closed the roads to Ha'atafu and Kanokupolu resorts, which were reported to be badly hit.
Matangi Tonga accessed Liku'alofa, where the destruction was stunning.
Liku'alofa's main entertainment building, deck and guest fales were destroyed. All that was left standing was a badly-damaged office and three small houses situated at the back of the property, away from the seafront. The resort’s water tank was thrown into the entrance gate.
There were reports that further along the coast, other beach resorts suffered a similar fate.
The White Sands Beach Resort was reported destroyed.
At Kanokupolu Beach, the Vakaloa Resort’s main building was destroyed and across the road fales at the Blue Banana Beach Resort.
Other resorts reported damage as well.
This is another huge shock to Tonga's tourism industry, which has been at a standstill for the last two or threes weeks from the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis, and Tonga's flight diversions.
The coastal resorts were recovering from severe damage inflicted by Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita (Cat. 4-5) in February 2018, and were rebuilding and paying off recovery loans.
TC Harold has now left their establishments damaged or completely destroyed.
Meanwhile, further inland homes of people were fine. What was mostly damaged mostly were the vegetation and fruit crops.
See also, Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold:
TC Harold could have been worse
Body found at 'Eua, not cyclone victim
Swimming inside the house
No lives lost during Severe TC Harold
Extreme high tide warning for Tonga as cyclone coincides with king tide and supermoon