Cyclone Gabrielle exits New Zealand, leaving behind two deaths and massive clean-up


New Zealand
A view of flood damage in the the aftermath of cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, in this picture released on Feb 15, 2023. (Photo: Reuters)

On Wednesday (Feb. 15), Cyclone Gabrielle weakened and moved away from New Zealand as the country began to assess the damage wrought by massive flooding, landslides, and powerful winds that claimed the lives of two people.

Gabrielle, which arrived in New Zealand on Sunday before moving down the North Island's east coast, isolated several villages, closed highways, and submerged homes.

Residents in hard-hit areas are encouraged to save water and food out of concern for potential scarcity.

On Wednesday, Mr Kerry Gregory, chief executive of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, stated, "As New Zealand awakens this morning, there are still parts of the country amid the effects of Gabrielle."

"When we look at places like Hawke's Bay, around Wairoa or Napier, and when we look at Tairawhiti, there are communities right at the epicentre of the cyclone's effects," he continued.

A volunteer firefighter who has been missing since Sunday night following a landslide in a seaside hamlet near Auckland is still being sought by fire and emergency authorities.

Two additional deaths have been confirmed in Hawke's Bay.

Now that the worst storm has passed, meteorological service Cyclone Gabrielle is currently east of the country and continues to track away from the North Island, according to a statement from WeatherWatch. The weather is now improving.

However, rivers in Hawke's Bay, a location on the eastern coast of the North Island, continue to pose concerns, and early Wednesday morning, the local emergency management ordered additional evacuations.

Approximately 225,000 people are without power across the island, impeding cleanup efforts.

Ms Jennie Perris, who resides on a 4-hectare property on the outskirts of Whangarei, north of Auckland, reported that her family has been without electricity since Sunday.

The mother of four reported that the roads had been reopened on Tuesday, allowing her family to travel into the city, shower at her mother's house, charge electronics, and stock up on bottled water. Still, they were now back to cooking on the grill.

She stated, "We're doing everything on it."

Publish : 2023-02-15 08:24:00

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