HomeWorldSouth PacificCyclone Gabrielle causes a national emergency in New Zealand

Cyclone Gabrielle causes a national emergency in New Zealand

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Due to the storm’s devastation, the government declared a national state of emergency on Tuesday for only the third time. New Zealand’s worst weather event in a century, according to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. At least 225,000 people lost power Tuesday, according to officials.

After getting trapped in a landslide in Muriwai, west of Auckland, a firefighter is still unaccounted for. Rescuers said a second firefighter was critically injured.

Hawke’s Bay, Coromandel, and Northland were the hardest hit by the storm on the north and east coast of the North Island.

A third of New Zealand’s 5.1 million people live in affected areas.

Marcelle Smith, who lives in Parua Bay on the east coast of the North Island, told the BBC she fled inland with her two young children on Monday night.

Many roads have been closed as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, leaving some towns completely cut off. (Image By: AP pic)

Her husband stayed behind to secure their home. On Tuesday, some embankments had washed away and they were still fighting wild weather.

“We’re doing everything we can to safeguard our life’s work. It’s man versus nature now “she told BBC.

Hawke’s Bay residents had to swim through bedroom windows to escape floodwaters, according to local media. The area’s residents may be without power for weeks.

People stranded on rooftops awaited rescue in aerial photos of flooded areas.

The damage includes uprooted trees, bent street lights and poles, and rows of flooded homes.

The New Zealand Defence Force released dramatic photos of officials rescuing a stranded sailor whose yacht was swept out to sea when its anchor cable snapped in strong winds. After an overnight search, authorities found it off Great Barrier Island.

Navy officials rescued a stranded sailor whose boat was swept into sea (Image By: New Zealand Defence Force)

Officials said more than 100 Aucklanders had fled to evacuation centres overnight.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hipkins said, “The severity and damage that we are seeing has not been experienced in a generation.”

“The cyclone’s effects are still being assessed. But we know it’s widespread and significant.” Those affected by the disaster will receive NZ$11.5m (£6m; US$7.3m) from him.

The Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, called the storm “unprecedented” when he declared the national state of emergency on Tuesday morning.

Emergency orders allow the government to streamline disaster response. Northland, Auckland, Tairawhiti, Tararua, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay have used it.

The 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic were the only times New Zealand declared a national state of emergency.

The government blames climate change for the disaster’s magnitude. Climate change minister James Shaw said, “The severity of it, of course, [is] made worse by the fact that our global temperatures have already increased by 1.1 degrees.”

“We must stop excusing inaction. We can’t hide when the beach floods. Immediately.”

Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand two weeks after record rainfall and flooding in the same region killed four people. Auckland received about half of its annual rainfall in the first 45 days of 2023, according to MetService.

Some heavy rain warnings are being lifted by the MetService as conditions improve. However, wind may cause more damage.

Info Source – BBC News

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