The death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand rose to 11 on Sunday, as thousands remained missing a week after the storm hit the country’s North Island.
The cyclone made landfall in the northernmost region of the island on February 12 and spread along the east coast, causing widespread devastation.
On Sunday, police said two more people died in Hawke’s Bay, which was hit in cyclone-related circumstances.
More fatalities are possible, Hipkins told reporters in the capital Wellington, as 6,431 people remained unaccounted for, while 3,216 were deemed safe.
Lives have been “turned upside down” by the disaster and recovery is a “steep mountain ahead”, he said, pointing to disrupted telecommunications, shortages of fresh water and damaged roads that still restrict access to some areas.
Supply chains have been disrupted, causing problems with transporting goods, many crops have been destroyed and 28,000 homes are still without power, he said.
A team from Fiji would leave for New Zealand in the next few days to help with the recovery, one of 12 offers of international aid received so far, Hipkins said.
Twenty-seven emergency workers from Australia are helping with the relief effort. Hipkins added that looters found would be arrested.
Source: CNN Brasil
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