New Zealand authorities have set up two temporary morgues due to the high death toll. Cyclone GabrielThe most damaging storms in the country in decades rise to 8.
A second volunteer firefighter, Craig Stevens, died in hospital after being caught in a mudslide near Oakland earlier in the week. A body was also found near Napier on Friday morning, police confirmed. Officials have warned that tolls could rise further.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins toured the Hawke’s Bay region on Friday and said “the whole country” was sympathetic to the affected communities.
“There are people who are in a very vulnerable state.
“I’m asking people to carry on. We’ll get through this. We’ll come out on the other side of it. But it’s a very difficult situation at the moment.”
Severe storms cut off entire towns, washing away farms, bridges and livestock, flooding homes and leaving people stranded on roofs. 10,000 people had been forced from their homes and 3,455 had been registered as “unreachable” by police by Thursday afternoon, although some likely had multiple reports of the same person, officials said. .
Temporary morgues have been set up in Napier and Hastings as part of “standard practice,” a police spokesperson told news staff.
“The facility was put in place as a precautionary measure to ensure that the deceased were managed with care and respect and treated according to the autopsy process. There are,” the police said.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins arrived in Napier on Friday morning. “When you look at the extent of the damage from the top of the hill, you are facing the true extent of the challenges they face,” he said. new zealand Herald.
Hipkins also said there was no evidence to support claims that the death toll and injuries were much higher, RNZ reported.
“It doesn’t help anyone to speculate on how many people may have been injured or died in this tragedy,” Hipkins said.
“We will certainly share that information as soon as possible, but we are hearing outlandish claims that there is no supporting evidence at this time.”
Communications and access to many areas remained difficult while surveillance flights were conducted to survey damage and identify those who may be stranded. Convoys of trucks carrying food, water, medicine, fuel and other essentials are heading to remote areas, and the Defense Forces are using ships to transport needed supplies to areas on the East Coast.
Among those confirmed dead earlier this week was a 2-year-old girl named Ivy who was swept away by water and drowned. In a Facebook post, he said:
The family of four tried to escape to the safety of their neighbor’s roof but was stopped by what she said was “a sudden torrent of water that almost drowned us all” and pulled Ivy away. .
Collins said, “She died soon after.”
“Give me time while we keep our feet on the ground and get through this impossible time.”
hipkins on thursday Police warn some people still have ‘serious concerns’however, “police is prioritizing those in isolated areas because the majority of those believed to be out of touch believe they have lost contact with their loved ones.”
Ken Cooper, leader of the urban search and rescue team, said one man walked 70 kilometers from Putrino to Napier to assist rescue workers in their mission.
“It’s a day and a half walk,” he told Radio NZ. “He walked and showed us a list of people still trapped on the East Coast.”
In Hawke’s Bay, helicopters and boats were used to check on people in isolated communities while search and rescue teams continued their operations.
Rescue efforts may be boosted by news from MetService that weather warnings have been lifted in New Zealand and sunshine is expected for much of the North Island.
Reuters contributed to this report
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/17/cyclone-gabrielle-nz-temporary-morgues-napier-hastings-death-toll-new-zealand Cyclone Gabriel: Temporary morgue set up in New Zealand as rescues continue | Cyclone Gabriel