In New Zealand, more and more details about the devastating damage are becoming known in the wake of Cyclone "Gabrielle". The death toll has risen to eight after a man, in his 70s, and later an elderly woman, were recovered from the floodwaters in the hard-hit Hawke's Bay area, media said, citing authorities.
According to the police, there is still great concern for more than 3,000 people who have not yet been contacted. Communication with some cut off areas was still difficult. Tens of thousands of people are still without electricity.
Danger of landslides near Auckland
Evacuation orders were issued in the village of Muriwai near the city of Auckland on Friday. There was a risk of landslides, the Auckland emergency service said on Twitter. Residents were asked to walk to safety immediately, leave everything behind and take only their pets with them. In Muriwai, two firefighters were killed in the past few days when a house collapsed in a landslide.
In the city of Gisborne in the northeast of the Pacific state there was hardly any drinking water left. The population was asked to stop using water after the local sewage treatment plant failed as a result of the flooding. "This is a big crisis, our city has no water," said the local civil defense. "Don't open your faucets."
Navy ships, Air Force transport planes and convoys of trucks were en route to remote areas around the wine region of Hawke's Bay and the seaside town of Gisborne. Aid workers tried to reach several communities that were further cut off from the outside world because of impassable roads.
The tropical storm had moved across the North Island since Monday with gale force winds and heavy rain. On Tuesday, the government declared a national emergency - for only the third time in the country's history. In some areas, the water masses were so high at times that only the roofs of houses could be seen. The government spoke of an "unprecedented weather event".