Cyclone Gabrielle latest: 9 dead, grave concern for 10 others, 5000 unaccounted for

Almost 5,000 people have been reported missing for following Cyclone Gabrielle.

Nine people have been confirmed dead and police have “serious concerns” about about ten others.

Government officials provide the latest information on the cyclone response as reports of another death in Hawke’s Bay surface and the water crisis in Gisborne continues.

Five days after the storm’s peak, at least nine Kiwi families are mourning the tragic death of Cyclone Gabrielle as emergency response teams continue to search for missing people and bring urgent food and water supplies to remote communities.


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The tragedy has hit Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti Gisborne hard, where seven people have been confirmed dead, including a 2-year-old girl and the father of a rugby league star. Two others – volunteer firefighters – died after a landslide in Muriwai.

Deputy Police Commissioner Glenn Dunbier said rumors of multiple deaths “have come and gone” but all known deaths have been reported.

They worked to contact those who were still unreported.

As of 9 p.m., 4,928 people had been reported missing and 885 had reported safe. Anyone who is registered and safe now should update their details.


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There was a small number of people that they had major concerns about – “about 10”.

Dunbier said there are about 100 additional police forces in the Eastern District.

entering the communities

Roger Ball, NEMA acting director of emergency management, said first responders had made an amazing effort.

This was a massive event for New Zealand and the greatest damage it had ever seen.

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The main priority was to reach out to remote communities and get supplies.

Tairāwhiti had contacted 90 percent of their communities and planned to reach 100 percent by the end of today.

Reaching these remote communities was also a priority in Hawke’s Bay. In Wairoa they would have completed their quick assessments by the end of today.

Getting fuel to Wairoa was a priority and BP wanted to get fuel there by road today.

Cell towers were also a priority. Hawke’s Bay was 90 percent operational, Northland 80 percent and Gisborne 30 percent.

Some power was back in Napier.


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Approximately 39,000 people were left without power in Hawke’s Bay and 62,000 across the country.

Gisborne water works restarted this morning. There was also a water treatment plant in Gisborne that could process 2.5 million liters per day.

A medical officer with supplies was flown to Te Puia.

There were reports of aggression towards helpers.

Ball said the country should be proud of the support shown. Monetary donations were the most effective form of support. Well-intentioned donations in kind have not always met the needs of the community. Instead, NEMA encouraged donations to relief funds.

NZDF had 600 members on the ground, four airplanes and seven helicopters, as well as trucks and ships. Another ship was due to depart from Christchurch next week with more supplies.


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Regarding Esk Valley, Ball said there would be an opportunity to review and reflect, but for now the response is urgent.

Fire and Emergency NZ’s Paul Turner said he wanted to recognize the Muriwai Volunteer Fire Service.

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The USAR’s eighth Australian contingent arrived yesterday and further groups of 12 and 5 would arrive today.

Yesterday there were 58 Zyklon related jobs and 290 others. FENZ conducted 980 building assessments, over 200 moderately to completely damaged.

“Serious Fears”

Earlier, civil defense said the risk of landslides remains high in Piha and Muriwai. About 20 homes were evacuated in Piha due to land instability and a no-go zone was established for a large part of Muriwai.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warned yesterday that there are also “serious concerns” for others as 4,549 people are still listed as uncontactable by whānau and his friends.


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Nearly 2,000 people also remained in evacuation centers in Hawke’s Bay, while possibly up to 1,000 residents in that region and Tairāwhiti were out of reach of emergency services.

The teams – including a specialist Australian crew who flew in to help – were heavily focused on establishing regular contact with cut-off communities and restoring essential services in the wider areas where food, water, electricity and communications were limited .

Water has been an acute problem in Gisborne and authorities yesterday declared a crisis, urging residents to stop using the precious resource.

Napier in Hawke’s Bay was also still without power as of Friday night, leaving thousands without refrigerated food and internet connections.

Hipkins said that having now traveled to both regions, the level of devastation he witnessed was appalling.

“Local life in the affected areas is incredibly tough and will remain so for some time to come,” he said.


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