In pictures: Cyclone Ian aftermath

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Tonga's Digicel mobile communication provider has announced this morning  its telecommunication services to Ha’apai have been restored after links were cut by the massive destruction caused by Cyclone Ian.

Sione Taumoefolau, Tonga Red Cross Secretary General told Radio & Television Tonga this morning about 4000 out of the 6000 residents of Ha'apai were affected.

At least one elderly woman died and about  70% of the islands were either partly affected or completely destroyed, authorities said.

The cyclone hit the islands with Category 5 strength, the strongest a storm could create.

The catastrophic cyclone caused massive damage in the islands of Foa, Lifuka, Kauvai Ha'ano,  and Mo'unga'one flattening houses and causing thousands to flee their homes.

The Tongan government has declared state of emergency and signalled that it is working to facilitate all assistance available both locally and from overseas. 

Aid agencies are pushing for immediate access to the affected areas.

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