New Zealand declares national emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc

WELLINGTON,14th February, 2023 (WAM) -- New Zealand declared a national state of emergency for only the third time in its history on Tuesday as Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread flooding, landslides and huge ocean swells, forcing evacuations and stranding people on rooftops.

According to Reuters, about 225,000 people were left without electricity.

"It has been a big night for New Zealanders across the country, but particularly in the upper North Island ... a lot of families displaced, a lot of homes without power, extensive damage done across the country," Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters after the declaration.

At 3 pm (02:00 GMT) Gabrielle was around 160 km (100 miles) southeast of Auckland, near the east coast of the country's North Island, and is expected to continue moving southeast, roughly parallel to the coast. Weather warnings remain in place for much of the east coast of the North Island and upper South Island.