The death toll from tropical cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand has risen to five. Another person was recovered dead from the floods near the city of Gisborne, the police said. But the number of victims could still rise.
Numerous people have not yet been contacted, said police spokeswoman Jeanette Park. However, communication with some of the hard-hit areas continued to be difficult due to disrupted cell phone reception and power outages.
Hipkins: "The damage is huge"
"The destruction is incredible," Park said after visiting the disaster area. "When you see it, you just can't believe it." Prime Minister Chris Hipkins also got an idea of the situation on site today. "The damage is huge and we're just trying to understand the full extent," he said. "We will see more weather events like this in the future and we need to be prepared," Hipkins added.
The tropical storm had moved over the North Island of the Pacific state with gale force winds and heavy rain since Monday. 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 that only the roofs of houses could be seen. In many parts of the country, the weather service predicted further precipitation and thunderstorms. The weather should only calm down across the country from the weekend, MetService said on Twitter.