Tuesday, February 14, 2023

As Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc, New Zealand declares a state of emergency

New Zealand declares national emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc

 WELLINGTON: Cyclone Gabrielle causes widespread flooding, landslides, and huge ocean swells across the North Island, prompting the third time in New Zealand's history that the government has declared a national state of emergency.

The minister for emergency management, Kieran McAnulty, stated in a statement on Tuesday that the widespread damage caused by this cyclone necessitated a national declaration to assist those affected.

According to McAnulty, "This is an unprecedented weather event that is having major impacts across much of the North Island." Only two other times have a National State of Emergency been declared: in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and following the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch in 2011.

Gabrielle had been sitting over a few small islands 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Auckland but was now moving southwest. The worst of the rain, according to the meteorological organization MetService, has left Auckland, but it will start to have an impact further south.

Numerous beach communities have had to be evacuated as a result of the cyclone's torrential downpours, flooding, and gale-force winds that have swept across the North Island. Throughout the North Island, evacuation centers have been established. Roads are closed, many people do not have electricity, and some towns are completely cut off.

Photos of people sitting on top of buildings surrounded by flood waters, houses at the base of hills following landslides, and roads submerged in water can be found in the local media.

A volunteer firefighter remains inside a house after it slid down a hill in a beach town near Auckland, according to the New Zealand fire and emergency services. A second firefighter was rescued and is being treated in a hospital for critical injuries.

A yacht with an activated emergency beacon this morning off the east coast of New Zealand is being approached by a navy vessel.

On Tuesday, deputy controller Rachel Kelleher of Auckland Emergency Management stated, "This has been and continues to be a serious and significant event for our region."

She advised, "Keep up to date and take care of one another."

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