Disasters & Accidents

New Zealand to lift cyclone state of emergency

Sydney, Australia, Mar 13 (EFE).- New Zealand’s state of national emergency will be fully lifted on Tuesday, almost a month after it was imposed across swathes of the North Island due to Cyclone Gabrielle, which left 11 people dead, thousands displaced and billions of dollars in damages.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s third state of national emergency will end tomorrow, 28 days after it was declared,” Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced in a statement Monday.

“The remaining state of national emergency over the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions will end on Tuesday 14 March.”

The government declared a state of national emergency on Feb. 14 in the Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay regions, in addition to Tararua district, spanning from the far north to the east coast of the North Island.

A national transition period now covers Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions as well as Tararua, Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa districts to allow for a locally led recovery supported by the central government with resources and coordination.

It will also provide “local Civil Defence teams with the powers they may need during the recovery, such as clearing roads and disposing of dangerous materials,” the statement said.

“While significant progress has been made in restoring power and telecommunications, and ensuring everyone reported as uncontactable is accounted for, there are still major and ongoing impacts in these regions,” McAnulty said.

The authorities estimate that the cyclone damage could cost close to the NZ$13 billion (around $8 billion) spent in the wake of the large earthquake that destroyed much of the South Island city of Christchurch in 2011.

Cyclone Gabrielle hit the country’s most populated city of Auckland on Feb. 12 and cut a path across to the severely-impacted east coast of the island, leaving 11 people dead and a trail of destruction, including whole towns buried in silt. EFE


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