A FIJIAN in Tonga, Iliesa Tora, says people in the Friendly Isles are taking the necessary precautions as Tropical Cyclone Ian advances on a course for the islands.
Tropical Cyclone Ian had turned back to Fiji on Wednesday but early yesterday it turned back towards Tonga and intensified to a Category 3 system.
Mr Tora, who knows of three Fijian families living on Vavau, said a cyclone alert had been issued for the islands of Va'vau and Ha'apai.
"We are just keeping track of the weather bulletins we have been given, but we are okay at the moment and hoping it doesn't come this way to Tongatapu," he said. "It has been very easy for the Fijian families here to stay in touch and we have all been briefed on disaster preparedness.
"But the updates that we are getting indicate the cyclone will go toward the islands of Vavau and Ha'apai, strong winds will be felt there more than Tongatapu."
Mr Tora said it had been extremely hot in Tongatapu over the past few days and there was also heavy rain after the initial cyclone alert was released earlier this week.
"The government here is taking the normal precautionary measures and the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) has continued to give advice to people through radio messages to be prepared."
The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said yesterday that sustained winds were currently 120 km/h with gusts of up to 150km/h.