UPDATE: New Zealand government estimates more than $8 billion worth of damage caused by cyclone

Thousands displaces after cyclone in New Zealand as hard-hit areas asked to conserve water and food

Thousands displaces after cyclone in New Zealand as hard-hit areas asked to conserve water and food Photo by Emagnetic Shutterstock.com

UPDATE February 20 (2.35 pm) – Authorities in New Zealand have said that destruction caused by cyclone Gabrielle could be in excess of $8 billion  

The New Zealand government has said that the destruction caused by cyclone Gabrielle could be worth more than $8 billion (€7,5 billion).  

This announcement was made by Grant Robertson, who stated that the damage caused by the cyclone could cost the government more than NZ$13.5 billion (US$8.42 billion).  

Officials in the country have now announced that emergency funds are being arranged in order to help with the efforts to recover.  

“The required investment to reconnect our communities and future-proof our nation’s infrastructure is going to be significant and it will require hard decisions,” said Hipkins cited by Reuters, while he announced an additional cyclone relief package worth NZ$300 million (€175,53 million). 

As per Andrew Coster, New Zealand police commissioner, the death toll is expected to increase.  

He said, “The number of deaths would likely rise as difficulty with communications is hampering efforts to make contact with affected people”.  

Meanwhile, search and rescue operations are continuing in the country as teams are still working in affected areas.  

Electricity supply and telecommunications in some parts is still not working, as roads in the parts that have been damaged remain closed, while reports suggest that people are facing difficulty getting cash.  


UPDATE February 19 (9.32 AM) – New Zealand PM says cyclone Gabrielle is the biggest natural disaster to hit the country this century, as thousands still remain missing 

A week after the devastating cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand, officials on Sunday, February 19 said that thousands of people are still missing as the death toll has climbed to 11.  

The cyclone hit New Zealand’s northernmost part on February 12, and moved towards the east coast, resulting in widespread destruction.   

According to Reuters, New Zealand’s prime minister Chris Hipkins has called this cyclone as the country´s “biggest natural disaster this century”.  

Hipkins said that “lives had been turned upside down by the disaster and recovery was a steep mountain ahead”.  

“6,431 people remained missing, while 3,216 had been reported safe”, he added. 

Parts of New Zealand have reported a shortage of fresh water as damaged roads are creating restrictions to access some of the affected areas.  

Hipkins also said that “Supply chains were disrupted causing problems moving goods, many crops had been destroyed, and 28,000 homes were still without power”.  

“The true extent of the devastation and loss become clearer with every passing day,” the prime minister added.


ORIGINAL February 15 (8.38 am) – Cyclone Gabriella displaces thousands in New Zealand as the worst affected areas now asked to save food and water due to fear of shortage  

Authorities in New Zealand are assessing the damage after cyclone Gabrielle hit the country, causing major flooding and landslides that has resulted in the death of four people and displaces thousands.  

After making landfall in the country on Sunday, Gabrielle was reported to have weakened and has now moved away from the country.  

The cyclone has resulted in flooding homes, leaving people stranded on their roofs, while washing away bridges, farms as well as livestock.  

“Our immediate focus has been undertaking lifesaving missions for those affected by the floods who needed to be rescued,” said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, as cited by Reuters.  

He also said that people who were stranded on the roof have now been rescued.  

Hipkins also issued a warning and said, “Please don’t return to your homes until you have been given the all-clear to do so”.  

Officials are now asking people affected in worst-hit areas to conserve food and water due to fears of shortage after the country declared a state of emergency for the third time in its history.


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Written by

Imran Khan

A journalist, content professional, and former TEDx Speaker based in Tarragona (Spain), with a Master's in International Journalism (Cardiff, UK). Imran is an online reporter for The Euro Weekly News and covers international as well as Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com