New Zealand declares state of emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle eases – KGET 17

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The New Zealand government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in the country’s North Island, which was hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The declaration allows the government to support six regions where local states of emergency have already been declared and provide additional resources, Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said.

During the night, the country was hit by intense rainfall that forced evacuations and led to major floods, power outages and road closures.

“This is a significant disaster with a real threat to the lives of New Zealanders,” McAnulty told reporters in the capital, Wellington.

A state of emergency applies to the country’s largest city, Auckland, as well as the Northland, Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay regions.

A weather station in the Hawke’s Bay and Napier region recorded three times as much rain overnight as it usually does for the whole of February, MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said.

“It’s going to be a wet, wet, wasteland out there,” Ferris told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“We’ve seen the worst of the storms now,” Ferris added. “We just have to get through today.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was briefed on the emergency response in Auckland, the city that was inundated two weeks ago by a record-breaking storm that killed four people.

Hipkins said the military was already on the ground in the worst-hit northern parts of the North Island helping with evacuations and keeping essential supplies moving.

“I want to acknowledge the situation New Zealanders woke up to this morning,” Hipkins told reporters. “Many families have been displaced. Many houses without electricity. Great damage done throughout the country.”

“It’s going to take some time for us to figure out exactly what happened and, in due course, help with the cleanup when we get to that point,” Hipkins added.

Much of Auckland came to a standstill on Monday as train services were cancelled, libraries and most schools closed and authorities asked people to travel only for essentials.

Air New Zealand has canceled all domestic flights to and from Auckland until Tuesday morning, as well as many international flights. Some international routes will continue to operate, airline officials said, although they may need to be diverted from Auckland. The carrier has also canceled domestic flights to and from Hamilton, Tauranga and Taupo.

Air New Zealand has canceled more than 500 flights in total. More than 10,000 international customers were affected, the airline said, and thousands still needed to be rebooked.

The Latest

To Top