The New Zealand Government has declared a national state of emergency after Hurricane Gabrielle hit North Isa, the most populated area of the country. Thousands of houses have been affected by the floods and more than 225,000 people have been left without electricity.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warned of the seriousness of the situation: “Cyclone Gabrielle is the biggest weather event New Zealand has seen in a hundred years. The severity the extent of the damage we are seeing has not been experienced in an entire generation. This morning we have declared a national emergency and it is only the third time in history that this has happened.”
Although there are no concrete figures on the impact of Gabrielle – which compares to that left by Cyclone Bola in 1988 – the New Zealand Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, said that around 2,500 people have been displaced by the disaster.
Within the framework of the declaration of national emergency, which applies to the regions of Auckland, Northland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawkes Bay and the Tararua district, the Wellington Executive has ordered the military deployment for the tasks of evacuation and rescue. North Island has still not recovered from flooding in January, which killed several people.
“So far 200 defense forces have been deployed and more are waiting”Hipkins specified, insisting that the priority is the safety of the people and the restoration of communications in various towns on the North Island that are isolated.
One of the most risky rescues carried out by the Navy was the one carried out last night to reach a person aboard a catamaran in the middle of the powerful storm and the gigantic waves that hit Whangarēi, in the northeast of the country, according to a statement today from this military institution.