(CNN)Large parts of Tonga have been left without power after Tropical Cyclone Gita smashed into the Pacific island nation, flattening buildings, downing electrical lines and causing widespread flooding.
Worst storm in 60 years ravages Tonga
The storm, which at its peak brought winds of up to 230 kilometers per hour (kph) with gusts upwards of 280 kph, first made landfall around 8 p.m. Monday, reaching the main island of Tongatapu between 11 p.m and 2 a.m. local time.
Images posted to social media show extensive property damage throughout the capital Nuku'alofa, including to the country's Parliament House.
According to the British Met office, Gita is the worst cyclone to pass close to Tonga's main islands in 60 years. The storm was far stronger than forecasters predicted, despite not reaching reaching category five status.
Reports of injuries remain unclear, due to the difficulty in accessing parts of the archipelago. An estimated 110,000 people live in Tonga, with the majority based on the main island of Tongatapu.
According to Tonga Police spokesperson Sia Adams, as of Tuesday morning, emergency services in Tongatapu were dealing with three confirmed major injuries and 30 minor injuries. One 72-year-old man died of a heart attack, though it was unclear if it related to the storm.
Adams said efforts were now underway to restore power throughout Tongatapu, which remained in darkness, with the city's hospital being the "first priority."
Emergency response teams made up of combined units from the country's police, armed forces and the national emergency management office were dispatched Tuesday morning to help clear roads and rescue those left stranded.
An estimated 5,700 people had sought shelter in evacuation centers overnight, with those numbers expected to increase substantially into the c