Cyclone Gabrielle: New Zealand has declared a national emergency due to widespread flooding, landslides and sea level rise caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.
There has been damage across the country
After declaring the state of emergency, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said it had been a difficult night for New Zealanders. Especially for the upper areas of the north. Many families have had to leave their places. There is no electricity in many houses. There has been widespread damage across the country.
At 3 p.m. local time, Cyclone Gabriel was about 160 kilometers from Auckland near the coast of the country’s North Island. It is expected to move further towards the northeast. It is expected that it will increase parallel to the coastal area.
The weather could get worse
A weather warning has been issued for the east coast of North Island and the upper South Island. Disaster Management Minister Karen McAnulty says New Zealand is currently facing the worst of the storm so more rain and winds are expected.
The country is experiencing heavy flooding, landslides and severe damage to roads and infrastructure. Power companies across the country are reporting damage to substations and power networks.
Relief work in progress
Energy Minister Megan Woods says that about 2 lakh 25 thousand people are living without electricity. Authorities have evacuated people living along the coast. Due to the rising water level of the rivers, it is feared that more people will leave their homes. The roads have been closed. Mobile services have been disrupted and power supply has been disrupted in some cities.
People in hard-hit areas are being asked to conserve food and water due to fears of shortages. People are being rescued by helicopters and boats. Hipkins said it is difficult to say how many people have been displaced. There is no report of any death so far.
According to Air New Zealand, they are preparing to resume flights from today i.e. Tuesday afternoon. Earlier, a total of 592 flights were affected due to cyclone Gabriel. Air New Zealand is preparing to start with turboprop operations but has warned that there could be some challenges due to high winds.
In another statement, the airline said it has also suspended all domestic flights to and from Auckland till February 14. The airline says that the weather at Auckland airport is not such that flights can be continued. We cannot operate in these poor Auckland conditions keeping in mind the safety of our citizens.