Three killed by tropical storm in New Zealand

02/15/2023 03:13 (act. 02/15/2023 03:13)

State of emergency declared ©APA/AFP

In New Zealand, at least three people were killed by Tropical Storm Gabrielle, which Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said was the country’s “most severe weather event” this century. Three bodies have been recovered, the Ministry of Disaster Management announced on Wednesday. One of the deaths was a firefighter who was reported missing during rescue operations in West Auckland after a house collapsed.

“Gabrielle” battered New Zealand’s North Island on Monday with winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour. The cyclone brought heavy rain and waves up to 11 meters high. There were heavy thunderstorms on Tuesday as well. Officials said the worst appeared to be over on Wednesday, “but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Because of “Gabrielle”, the New Zealand government declared a national emergency on Tuesday. This had only been imposed twice before: in the Christchurch massacre in 2019 with over 50 dead and because of the corona pandemic.