New Zealand issues a national emergency declaration due to Cyclone Gabrielle

New Zealand has proclaimed a national emergency for just the third time in its history. It happens as Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc on North Island with massive ocean surges, flooding, and landslides.

Tuesday, when Cyclone Gabrielle brought extensive floods, landslides, and enormous ocean surges, forcing evacuations and trapping people on rooftops, New Zealand issued a national emergency for the third time in history. 

The national emergency has only been declared twice before in New Zealand: once after the earthquake in Christchurch in 2011 and again during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. However, “this is an unprecedented weather event that is causing major impacts across the North Island,” Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty noted, so a national declaration was warranted to assist those affected. He continued, “This is a serious calamity with a significant threat to the lives of New Zealanders.”

The Impact Of Cyclone Gabrielle

Chris Hipkins, the New Zealand Prime Minister, speaks to the country and immediately brings up the devastation and impact the storm has had on the country’s residents. He claims that “the severity and scope of the destruction we are witnessing has not been seen in a generation.”

People were forced to leave their homes due to the devastation of the roads and infrastructure, and some are now stuck on their rooftops. Additionally, as reported by the news agency Reuters, 225,000 people were left without power, hundreds of passengers were left stranded due to canceled flights, and dozens of supermarkets were closed. 

The result of everything is that the nation is in disarray. Even though the storm’s worst had passed over New Zealand, McAnulty claimed that more rain and strong gusts would still come. 

The cyclone, which has already impacted six North Island districts (Northland, Auckland, Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawkes Bay), is now forecast to move on to the South Island. Cyclone Gabrielle is forecast to meander east-southeast along the coast, perhaps bringing severe weather to the South Island. It is now situated around 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Auckland.

Due to concerns over swollen rivers and increasing tides, authorities have asked residents close to the coast to vacate their houses.

Concerns Grow Over Missing Persons

There have been no recorded fatalities, but Prime Minister Hipkins stated that it was too early to estimate the number of injuries or displaced persons. 

“It has been a big night for New Zealanders across the country, but notably in the upper North Island,” he told reporters. “Many families have been relocated, many homes without electricity, and considerable damage has been done across the country.

A volunteer firefighter’s disappearance following the Monday night collapse of a house outside Auckland was receiving special attention. Even though another firefighter had already been saved, according to authorities, search operations had to be suspended out of fear for their safety.

A person was saved by a warship from New Zealand this morning after a yacht off the east coast activated its emergency beacon.

Message From The Authorities

Chris Hipkins, the prime minister, advises New Zealanders to “take the severe weather warning seriously” as well as to “stay at home and cancel all unnecessary travels.”

The Deputy Controller for Auckland Emergency Management, Rachel Kelleher, said that Cyclone Gabrielle “has been and continues to be a serious and important occurrence for our region.”

“Keep up to date and take care of one another,” she advises the populace.

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