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New Zealand Expects More Deaths After Cyclone Gabrielle Kills 4

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New Zealand expects more deaths

(CTNN NEWS) – At least four people have died due to a storm that devastated New Zealand from Cyclone, causing severe flooding and landslides, and the police have “grave worries” for additional citizens who are still missing, according to the prime minister on Wednesday.

The 5 million-person nation has suffered more devastation from Cyclone Gabrielle than any other weather event in decades since it made landfall in the north of the country on Monday.

At least four deaths from the storm have been officially confirmed, according to the police, including a youngster who was trapped in rising water on Tuesday at Eskdale in Hawke’s Bay. Two died in landslides, and two drowned at the same North Island east coast bay.

According to authorities, a weather station in the Hawke’s Bay area recorded three times as much rain on Monday night as typically occurs throughout February.

New Zealand expects more deaths

/ AP

According to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, the number of individuals currently missing is unknown because floodwaters, landslides, and malfunctioning communications systems still cut off some settlements.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,442 people on the North Island have been reported as being unreachable, according to the police.

“We expect that most of these persons will be located. However, several people are missing about whom police have serious reservations, Hipkins informed the press.

Hipkins stated that he could not estimate the number of missing person complaints that warranted immediate attention.

He said that as of Wednesday, 1,111 people had been reported as found, which would account for some of the unreachable reports. Since Monday, about 9,000 individuals have been ejected from their homes.

An official reported that more than 300 people were evacuated from the Hawke’s Bay region on Tuesday, including 60 trapped on a single roof. On Wednesday, it was anticipated that the remaining 25 rescues of individuals and family units would be finished.

New Zealand expects more deaths 2

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Hipkins reported that as of late Wednesday, seven rescues remained unfinished. He did not specify how many more needed to be rescued but stated that none were in danger.

The information we have so far indicates that everyone involved in the seven cases that are still open is safe, according to Hipkins.

The persons who were in dangerous places and on rooftops have been rescued, he continued.

According to Hipkins, in addition, to rescue efforts, the administration was focusing on reestablishing power and telecommunications as well as getting food, water, and medicine to those in need.

A naval ship departed Auckland late on Wednesday with drinking water for the towns in Hawke’s Bay, and a second ship will arrive on Thursday with necessary supplies.

For 3,000 individuals, bottled water would be dropped from a helicopter on Wednesday night.

On Wednesday night, 3,000 people were expected to attend a BBQ that emergency personnel intended to organise in the Hawke’s Bay village of Wairoa.

In this image released by the New Zealand Defense Force on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, a person is winched from a rooftop of a home to safety by helicopter in the Esk Valley, near Napier, New Zealand. The New Zealand government declared a national state of emergency Tuesday after Cyclone Gabrielle battered the country's north in what officials described as the nation's most severe weather event in years. (New Zealand Defense Force via AP)

/ AP

According to Hipkins, they will continue to prepare meals well into the night until they either run out of people to feed or the food itself.

On Thursday, he added, Wairoa would also receive water treatment equipment.

According to the government, fewer homes on the North Island were without electricity on Wednesday than on Tuesday (225,000).

Princess Anne, sister of British King Charles III, paid a visit to New Zealand’s disaster management center on Wednesday in Wellington and commended the country’s reaction. Before the cyclone hit, she was supposed to travel to New Zealand.

In a statement, she stated, “My sympathies are with all New Zealanders whose homes or livelihoods have been damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle.”

New Zealand expects more deaths 2

/ AP

She referred to the nation by its Mori name, saying, “I appreciate the courage of the people of Aotearoa during this worrisome and difficult time.”

In the face of adversity, she continued, “you should all be proud of the perseverance, grit, and caring for your communities you are demonstrating.

A record-breaking storm that flooded Auckland two weeks ago also claimed four lives.

Tuesday saw a national emergency declaration, allowing the government to support impacted areas and allocate more resources. Only three national emergencies have ever been declared.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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