NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga — Mormon missionaries serving in cyclone-battered Tonga and Samoa are accounted for and unharmed.

“All missionaries serving in the Samoa Apia Mission and the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission are safe as Tropical Cyclone Gita moves through the region,” said Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. “Missionaries in Tonga are taking refuge in Church buildings away from the coast and have taken necessary preparations to help keep them safe.

“We pray for all those in the South Pacific who are impacted by this powerful storm.”

Over the past few days, Tropical Cyclone Gita has hammered Tonga and neighboring South Pacific islands with what is being called the most powerful storm to hit that region in memory.

A tropical cyclone is the same type of storm as a hurricane.

The eye of Gita passed just south of the low-lying Tongatapu group of islands in southern Tonga on Monday with maximum sustained winds estimated at 145 mph, the Associated Press reported. The nation has declared a state of emergency.


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