Hawke’s Bay residents are still missing after flooding

The woman was one of 1,442 people still reported missing or unavailable after the storm, though authorities expected most reports to be due to a telecommunications outage.


Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said that in reality it was unclear how many people were actually missing as several communities were still isolated by floods, landslides and telecommunications outages.

Around 9,000 people had been driven from their homes since Monday. More than 300 people were rescued from the Hawke’s Bay area on Tuesday, including 60 who were stranded on a single roof, an official said.

Alongside the bailouts, the government prioritized restoring power and telecommunications, and delivering food, water and medicines to where they are needed, Hipkins said.

A Navy ship left Auckland late Wednesday carrying drinking water for Hawke’s Bay communities and another ship would follow with vital supplies on Thursday.

A helicopter would drop water bottles for 3,000 people Wednesday night, and rescue workers planned to hold a barbecue that evening in the Hawke’s Bay town of Wairoa to feed 3,000 people.

“They will cook into the night until they either run out of people to eat or run out of food,” Hipkins said.

Water treatment equipment would also be shipped to Wairoa on Thursday, he said.

Around 160,000 properties in the North Island were without power on Wednesday, up from 225,000 on Tuesday, the government said.

Rescue workers had an added scare on Wednesday night when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake – originally rated 6.0 – struck near Wellington. Major damage was not reported.

AAP, AP, Reuters

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Callan Tansill

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