In view of the destruction caused by cyclone "Gabrielle", New Zealand's Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has prepared the population for a difficult reconstruction. "There is no doubt that as a country we have a steep mountain ahead of us and we will climb it together," he said on Sunday in the capital Wellington. The infrastructure in the Pacific country must be improved and become even more resilient. This will have its price.
At least 11 people were killed in the storm, the prime minister confirmed. The number could still rise, but the authorities had no indication that there could be significantly more fatalities, Hipkins said, according to media reports.
The police and civil protection announced on Saturday that there were serious concerns about ten missing people. Around 3,000 people have not yet been contacted, but communication has not yet been restored everywhere. In addition, around 28,000 households are still without electricity.
The tropical storm hit the country on Monday and caused severe damage in large parts of the North Island with hurricane-force winds and heavy rain. The Hawke's Bay region was hit particularly hard. Many houses, roads and bridges have been destroyed, and power and communication lines have been damaged.
At times the water was so high in some areas that only the roofs of houses were sticking out of the water. When the water left, masses of mud remained in many buildings. The government had already declared a national emergency on Tuesday - only for the third time in the history of the Pacific state, which has around five million inhabitants.