New Zealand has declared a national emergency, including floods, landslides, and power outages, as Cyclone Gabriel swept across New Zealand’s North Island.
Tens of thousands of homes are without electricity, people are being evacuated, and roads in the north are closed. On Tuesday, the cyclone leaves a trail of destruction. Auckland Airport said 45,000 travelers were affected by hundreds of flight cancellations.
Gabriel finds himself in trouble two weeks after Auckland, home to 1.6 million people, was devastated by a devastating storm with extensive flooding and landslides. 4 people died. The state of emergency is the third in New Zealand’s history, after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the COVID-19 outbreak.
This will coordinate the national emergency response so resources can be quickly delivered where they are needed, Emergency Minister Kieran Makanulty said at a press conference in Wellington.
“An unprecedented weather event that is significantly affecting most of the North Island,” he said. “This is a serious disaster that practically threatens the lives of New Zealanders.
Complaints were made as paramedics searched for missing firefighters in a sudden landslide in Murivai on Auckland’s west coast after storms and rain hit the area. More than 265 millimeters (10 inches) of rain was recorded in 12 hours.
One of two firefighters trapped in Murivai after floods triggered multiple landslides, damaged homes, and evacuated. A second firefighter with serious injuries was rescued.
A river north of Auckland burst its banks and required evacuation, winds threatened to topple Auckland city towers and local residents were forced to leave their homes.
Now Oakland has some breathing room when Gabriel passes. Auckland Airport is expected to reopen on Tuesday, with Air New Zealand resuming international and domestic flights through its busiest hub. However, the strong wind warning is still in effect.
Storms are moving down the east coast of New Zealand, cutting down trees and cutting power lines. Rivers are rising in Tayrawiti and eastern Hawkes Bay, and defenders are mobilizing trucks and manpower to help with the evacuation.
The power outage knocked out cellular communications, making them unreachable in many areas. “We survived the worst of the storm, but we all know we are facing widespread flooding, mudslides, and damaged roads and infrastructure,” Makanulty said. “We still want people to be vigilant and follow our advice.”