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Hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, a state of emergency was introduced. “It’s unprecedented”

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New Zealand has declared a state of emergency for the third time in its history. The reason is the cyclone Gabrielle, which brought heavy rains, floods and gales. The weather forced about 45,000 people to evacuate, and more than 200,000 were without power. Hundreds of flights were canceled due to the violent weather.

For the third time in the country’s history, the New Zealand government declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday. The reason for this decision is the cyclone Gabrielle, which brought heavy rainfall. The downpours led to widespread flooding and landslides. Strong winds accompanying the element caused huge waves to appear on the North Island.

Around 225,000 people were left without power, and dozens of supermarkets and shops were closed. It is estimated that about 45,000 inhabitants of coastal towns were evacuated.

Hundreds of flights were canceled due to the violent weather. “The amount of damage we are seeing has not been seen for generations,” Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told a news conference on Tuesday.

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New Zealand, cyclone Gabrielle. “This is an unprecedented event”

Local media quoted by Reuters said one person was missing after a house slid down a hill in Hawke’s Bay.

Kieran McAnulty, the emergency management minister, said on Tuesday that the extensive damage caused by the cyclone means that a state of emergency is necessary to give services the right tools to support those affected. “This is an unprecedented weather event that is having a major impact on much of the North Island,” McAnulty said.

On Tuesday, Cyclone Gabrielle was 100 kilometers northeast of Auckland over several small islands and moving southwest. MetService said the worst of the rain had already passed over Auckland, but would now begin to flood south of the city. The cyclone brought heavy rains, flooding and gales to the North Island and forced the evacuation of many people. Evacuation centers have been set up all over the island. Roads are closed and some towns are completely cut off from the world.

Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc in New Zealand Reuters

The biggest cyclone in 25 years

According to experts from the American website AccuWeather, Cyclone Gabrielle has a chance to become the largest tropical cyclone to hit the country in 25 years.

“The last time New Zealand was hit by powerful cyclones named Fergus and Drena, the first in December 1996 and the second in January 1997,” said AccuWeather forecaster Jason Nicholls.

Severe weather in New Zealand

Severe weather in New Zealand Reuters

Local media published photos of people sitting on the roofs of buildings surrounded by floodwater, houses at the foot of hills after landslides and roads flooded with water.

So far, a state of emergency has been introduced in New Zealand twice – after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch in 2011 and at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flooded areas in New Zealand

Flooded areas in New Zealand Reuters

PAP, Reuters, AccuWeather

Main photo source: Reuters



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