New Zealand declares national state of emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle hits

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New Zealand declares national state of emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle hits

On Feb. 14, New Zealand declared its third ever national emergency state, with about 2,500 people displaced and landslides battering the island in Cyclone Gabrielle’s tow, The Guardian reports.

There have been reports of flooding in the country’s fruit orchards, as the kiwifruit season is about to get underway.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters on Tuesday that the cyclone is the most significant weather event New Zealand has seen in this century. He assured that both the severity and damage caused has not been experienced in a generation

“We are still building a picture of the effects of the cyclone as it continues to unfold. But what we do know is the impact is significant and it is widespread,” he told the publications.

The magnitude of the floods have caused waters to rise to envelop homes and buildings in some areas.

In Hawke’s Bay, civilians have resorted to take shelter on roofs, with military helicopters unable to reach them in the weather. 

Meanwhile, around the North Island landslides have swept away homes entirely and cut off state highways, preventing humanitarian help from reaching the catastrophe areas.

Rural areas are among the most affected, with farmers describing an unprecedented destruction.

On the East Cape, a farmer in Tolaga Bay described enormous destruction as floods carried “300kg logs, huge logs, one after another, rolling off the forestry up above us”. 

The water came “pouring out over people’s homes and farms”, Bridget Parker told Radio New Zealand.

Weather conditions have continued to make rescue operations even more difficult, with authorities urging citizens to leave and seek safety while official evacuations are underway.

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