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New Zealand: 4 Killed, Thousands Displaced due to Deadly Cyclone

Wed 15 Feb 2023 | 11:56 AM
Israa Farhan

On Wednesday, New Zealand's authorities confirmed the deaths of 4 people while thousands have been displaced in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle which led to floods, destruction of roads, helicopter rescue missions, and a shortage of essential supplies.

Police also said they had still been unable to contact over 1,400 people by Wednesday afternoon.

Gabrielle, which made landfall in the country on Sunday before wreaking havoc on the east coast of the North Island, had weakened and moved away by Wednesday morning.

"We thankfully are through the worst of the storm but we're not out of danger yet," Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said during a media briefing.

"This is a significant disaster and is going to take many weeks for those areas most affected to recover," he said, adding that the country was in it for the "long haul."

Speaking at a televised media briefing, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced that all people stranded on roofs because of floodwater have been rescued. He warned that the situation remains dangerous despite improving weather.

"Please don't return to your homes until you have been given the all-clear to do so," Hipkins said.

The authorities confirmed that one body of four deaths was found in a beach community near Auckland, close to where a firefighter went missing on Sunday after a landslide.

Three other bodies were found in the Hawke's Bay region on the east coast of the North Island — one of the worst-hit regions.

Rescue teams continue to help those affected by the storm which caused incessant rains and flash floods. The government is said to be especially worried about the Hawke's Bay region which is full of agricultural land, rugged mountains, and hard-to-reach towns.

Nearly 140,000 people remain without electricity, despite power being slowly restored in the North Island area.

Some 300 people were rescued by military personnel in helicopters, from rooftops of homes and buildings.

 The government, on Tuesday, declared a state of emergency — the third in the nation's history.