Thursday, 16 February 2023 - 5:18pm |
National News

Cyclone Gabrielle – Police prioritise those uncontactable, isolated

3 min read

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Rescue in Pakowhai Road, Napier

Police, including specialist Search and Rescue staff, continue to prioritise rescue and recovery efforts in Eastern District.

Additional Police staff are already on the ground in Eastern District, with more to come in the days ahead. These officers will assist with recovery efforts and conduct highly visible reassurance patrols throughout affected areas.

While the worst of the weather may have passed, Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti still face significant and potentially life-threatening challenges in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Police are focused on locating those unaccounted for and reaching anyone who may have been isolated by flood waters. Searches are being carried out carefully and methodically, which takes time.

We know many people are concerned about family members and friends in the region, and Police have a dedicated team working through reports submitted via the Police 105 online reporting form.

As of 2pm today, 3544 people have been registered via the Police 105 online reporting form as uncontactable. The vast majority are from Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti.

It’s important to note that many of these reports are likely duplicates or because people are unable to make contact.

Four hundred and fifty people have reported themselves safe however we expect that number to rise significantly.

If you are still unable to reach a loved one, please do not submit multiple reports. Your initial report can be updated with additional information, if required.

If you locate the person you reported missing, please update your report with this information.

At present, five people are confirmed dead following the storm. Most recently, the body of a man in his 60s was recovered from flood waters in Gisborne.

Throughout the district, many rivers remain flooded, and water levels are dangerously high.

We urge people to stay out of and away from all floodwaters — if you have evacuated your home, please stay where you are until you have been given the all-clear to return.

If not, you risk putting yourself in an unsafe situation at a time when emergency services are already stretched.

Please do not panic-buy petrol or food — there is enough for everyone as long as people only buy what they need.

Motorists are urged to stay off the roads unless their travel is urgent.

Private vehicles are causing unnecessary congestion on local roads, delaying the response of emergency services to people in need of assistance.

Police can confirm the Hawke’s Bay Dog Base was inundated with flood water and is significantly damaged. A full assessment of the property, a former house, will be undertaken at an appropriate time.

The offices and kennel facility serves as a base for the Hawke’s Bay handlers working across Hastings and Napier.

All operational dogs are safe and continue to live with their handlers.

Police are responding to some reports of burglaries across the district and will be taking a hard line with anyone acting unlawfully and compounding the suffering of our hard-hit communities.

We understand this is a stressful and challenging time for many whānau so it’s important we look after each other.

We ask that people take stock, take a breath and tautoko each other in the times ahead.

If you are still unable to contact a family member or friend and have genuine concerns for their safety, please provide as much information as possible here.

Communications throughout the district are beginning to be restored. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call 111 immediately.

Police is sharing important information and safety messages from Civil Defence groups and other partner agencies on our social media channels.

Be kind, stay safe, and look after each other.


Issued by Police Media Centre


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Rescue in Pakowhai Road, Napier
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