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Cyclone Gabrielle Update: 11:50PM
He whakahou a Huripari Gabrielle: 11:50PM

Wairoa 2

Hawke’s Bay has reported a fatality in the region following the death of a women in Putorino, after a bank collapsed onto her home.  Police visited the property following a missing person’s report and undertook rescue efforts but were unsuccessful.

Wairoa is completely isolated following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle overnight, with a loss of lifelines to Napier and Gisborne, including power, phones, internet and roads. A NEMA rep is on route to Wairoa via helicopter from Napier to support the team and the response effort.

Evacuations took place in Ruataniwha, Waihirere and Ormond Rd earlier in the day. Those areas are now accessible but are covered in silt. Takiwa is isolated by water.

Evacuation Centres were activated at Taihoa Marae, War Memorial Hall and Presbyterian Hall.  An Evacuation Centre in Nuhaka has been established at the Mormon Church. 

With power back on to most of Wairoa by 5pm, with the exception of Mahia/Tuai, the key concern for the welfare of the community will be dwindling food and water supplies.

HB Civil Defence Controller Liz Lambert said that with the loss of roads, they would be relying on supplies coming in by air.

“Wairoa only has one day’s worth of food, and enough drinking water for two days. We have made a request to NEMA for enough food and water to supply the district for seven days.”

The district had been inundated and although levels are receding there is a lot of silt and forestry slash, which will leave the community with a lengthy clean up.

In Hastings and Napier, the cause of power outages has been linked to the flooding of the Redclyffe substation causing the Transpower network to go down. Unison reported outages for 60,000 customers across Hastings, Havelock North, Napier, north along east coast to Tūtira and south to Waimārama.  It is expected to take some time before power is fully restored across the region.

A number of the region’s cell towers are being operated on battery supply allowing some network coverage although this is still intermittent.  Mobile communications are still out in Wairoa with response teams relying on radio and FENZ communicating via satellite phones. A significant area of Haumoana was advised to evacuate out of precaution ahead of high tide during the evening [Feb 14]. In Napier, residents of house numbers 210 – 274 Te Awa Avenue were requested to evacuate with residents in the adjacent Hunter Drive told to be on high alert and ready to evacuate if requested.

Police and FENZ have carried out numerous rescues and continue to respond to stranded residents. Evacuations have occurred across Eskdale, Taradale (lifted at 4pm), Porangahau village, high risk areas of Waipawa township, Waipukura, Awatoto, Te Awa, Brookfields, Wairoa and Haumoana.

A number of bridges remain impassable and there is still no access between Hastings and Napier.

Much of Hawke’s Bay remains flooded as the region braces for continued rain. Met Service has issued an Orange Heavy Rain Warning for the 21hr period from 13:00 Tuesday 14 Feb to 02:00 Wednesday, 15 Feb. Expect 40 to 70 mm of rain especially about the ranges. Peak intensities of 10 to 25 mm/h.

Evacuation centres are in operation in Central Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, Napier and Wairoa with additional sites being added as required.

An updated list of Civic Defence Centres will be released at 1230AM.

15 February 2023

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