Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Death Toll from New Zealand Cyclone Reaches Eight

Fri 17 Feb 2023 | 10:01 AM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

Eight people have died as a result of the storm in New Zealand, and more than 4,500 people are still missing four days after the country's most severe weather event in decades, according to the prime minister.

The extent of the destruction from Cyclone Gabrielle, which made landfall in the country's north on Monday and caused extensive flooding, landslides, and power outages, has been compared to that caused by Cyclone Bola in 1988. The five million-person nation was devastated by the most catastrophic hurricane on record during that time.

According to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, three further fatalities have been reported since Thursday, and police have "grave fears" for additional missing persons.

"According to police, 4,549 people have been listed as being unreachable. Eighty personnel are currently trying to prioritise contact with those who are most likely missing and to quickly narrow down this list, he told reporters.

Mr. Hipkins stated that he was unsure of how high the death toll might rise.

The problem is that we don't know. We're not talking about enormous amounts, he continued.

"It's not like I know there are a tonne of things out there that we aren't reporting. One or two (fatalities) are still being picked up at a time.

Additionally, Mr. Hipkins stated that although "there are numerous persons that they are really concerned about," police had not made clear to him how many individuals were thought to be of considerable concern.

To assist local authorities, a group of 25 Australian disaster response specialists arrived on Friday.

The hardest-hit region of the North Island's east coast, which is located around Auckland, is where the majority of communities were still cut off on Friday.

Four people lost their lives when a record-breaking storm flooded Auckland two weeks ago.