A firefighter is missing after a rescue operation in Muriwai and the declaration of a national state of emergency still remains possible, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.
Latest update after frightening night
First off, I hope Bulletin readers in the areas impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle are safe. We’ve got an update on what’s happened overnight this morning on The Spinoff and I’ll detail what MetService say we can expect today below. It’s been a hellish and frightening night for many. The news is fairly overwhelming so I also want to look at what’s happening in the areas impacted through the lens of the efforts being made by so many acting in service and in one instance, what may tragically be sacrifice.
Firefighter unaccounted for, rescue operation suspended
In Auckland last night evacuations were ordered for two roads at Muriwai after two houses collapsed, one with residents inside. A rescue operation has been underway to reach those affected and the Herald is reporting that a firefighter involved is still unaccounted for, while one is critically injured in hospital. In a statement from Fire and Emergency this morning, the search for the firefighter was suspended in the early hours of the morning due to the instability of the land. Elsewhere, according to a witness, local farmers pitched in with diggers to rescue “half a dozen families” from their homes in Ramarama.
“It’s been amazing here at the marae”
Top Energy advised that there were nearly 10,000 people in Northland without power at 11pm last night. “Never before have we dealt with such a fluid and dynamic range of outages on our network in such a short period of time,” the company wrote on Facebook. Meanwhile marae have opened their doors in the region taking those with nowhere else to go. “It’s been amazing here at the marae. People have been so welcoming. As soon as I walked in, they put a towel around me, fed me and made me feel at home,” said Gemma Orr. In the Hauraki District, teams erected a stoplog in the early hours of this morning to provide additional protection as the Ohinemuri River rises in Hauraki. The Bay of Plenty Civil Defence team, where a state of emergency was declared last night, continued to update into the early hours of the morning, issuing an apology for the emergency alert “in case it woke people up” and a reassuring handover post, complete with team photo, to reassure people updates would still be provided.
Need for national state of emergency to be reviewed at 8am
The impact of the cyclone is now being felt further down the North Island with power outages reported in New Plymouth and a state of emergency (SoE) declared in Napier City and Hastings District. That makes ten SoEs across the North Island. National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) national operations manager Roger Ball said the next review on whether or not to declare a national state of emergency would be at 8am. Ball told the AM show that it is a “tool we are keeping in our toolbox and we have been keeping it under constant review.” Stuff’s Glenn McConnell outlines what happens if one is declared. These are the latest warnings from MetService. People are being urged to stay at home. MetService meteorologist John Law said while rain was likely to ease on Tuesday the strong winds would stick around.