According to the AP agency, two of the victims died as a result of the landslide, one more victim was found on the coast. Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty also acknowledged today that the death toll may not be final.
The typhoon hit the North Island on Monday and Tuesday. According to the BBC, about a third of New Zealand’s population of more than five million people live in areas affected by Hurricane Gabrielle.
Chris Hipkins’ government declares a state of emergency, only the third in the history of independent New Zealand. This will last for seven days.
According to the minister, rescuers managed to save 300 people since Tuesday, who were waiting for rescue on the roofs of their houses due to rising waters. 140,000 households are still without electricity, and in some places even telephone lines are down. Many cities remain completely cut off from the world.
The landslides also damaged many roads, including a major highway. Civil defense authorities said they could not deal with such damage on their own. Australia and Britain pledged to help.
New Zealand’s prime minister said Hurricane Gabrielle was a weather event not seen “in a generation”. “It was a big night for New Zealanders. Lots of families displaced, lots of homes without power,” Prime Minister Hipkins told reporters in Auckland.
The fire and rescue service said one firefighter was missing and another was in critical condition after a house collapsed in West Auckland. Hipkins said his thoughts were with the two firefighters involved and urged New Zealanders to put their safety first.
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