The main road is cut off, multiple homes have been affected by slips and floods and many residents are without power and cellphone coverage.
Residents in the West Auckland beachside suburb of Piha are being warned to stay home “unless absolutely necessary” after the region was devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle overnight. Slips have destroyed homes, many are flooded, and most are without power or cellphone coverage. One resident described “raging rain” and “biblical floods” overnight. These are “unprecedented and scary times” warned local emergency staff.
Making matters worse is that the road into Piha is closed by slips. “Please be vigilant and be sensible,” residents were warned by the Piha Volunteer Fire Brigade. “Stay at home unless it is unsafe to do so, call 111 when life and safety are at risk or if you need assistance evacuating your home … Please do not leave your home unless absolutely necessary. It is very dangerous out there at the moment.”
Last night, one Piha couple ran for their lives when a 100-metre cliff face collapsed, causing rocks to flatten their home. “Boulders started coming down the hill and one smashed into our house,” Leanne McMillan told Newsroom.”Then basically the whole back of the hillside came down and smashed into the back of our house, the trees and everything smashed all the windows and boulders were still coming down.”
For those unable to return home, Piha’s surf club and RSA are open for shelter. Emergency staff said they were dealing with multiple disaster responses. “What we are aware of at this stage is: Garden Road is currently inaccessible, Glenesk Road is inaccessible, Piha Road is inaccessible after 60 Piha Road, there is flooding at the intersection of Beach Valley Road and Glenesk Road. Marine Parade North is also flooding and there are multiple slips.”
The region was one of the hardest hit by Cyclone Gabrielle last night. In Muriwai, one firefighter remains missing and another is in a serious condition after a rescue operation caused by a slip that wiped out two houses about 11pm last night. “Crushed in my house. I’m alive. Everything gone,” wrote one survivor on Instagram.
Photos thanks to Valentina Rocca: