News Update

As it happened: Counting the cost of Cyclone Gita

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Several provinces of New Zealand remain in a state of emergency as the remnants of Cyclone Gita bear down, bringing howling winds and torrential rain.

Here’s what we know:

  • States of emergency have been lifted in Selwyn, Westland, Christchurch, Buller and Grey District.
  • A state of emergency remains in the Nelson-Tasman and Taranaki Districts.
  • Civil Defence staff have been pre-deployed to the areas expected to be worst affected
  • More than 40 tourists spent the night trapped in buses near Greymouth
  • North Taranaki’s water supply has been compromised
  • More than 13,000 properties are without power in Taranaki and Whakatane
  • All schools and daycare centres are closed in the Buller District and the Grey District
  • Flights and trains have been cancelled.
  • Takaka Hill is closed with several large slips, cutting off Golden Bay

These live updates have now ended.

9:09pm – Severe weather watches lifted

MetService is no longer expecting severe southerly gales in the Cook Strait and lower North Island.

Thunderstorms are still expected in those areas overnight.

Severe weather watches have now been lifted in Kapiti Coast, Wellington, Eastern Marlborough Sounds and Marlborough near Cape Campbell.

A strong wind watch has also been lifted for Banks Peninsula.

7:37pm – Selwyn District campgrounds remain closed

Coes Ford, Chamberlains Ford and Whitecliffs campgrounds will stay closed on Wednesday night following the cyclone.

Their status will be reassessed on Thursday morning.

7:07pm – Vodafone coverage restored to affected areas

Vodafone’s head of technology operations Ian Hooker says all cell sites affected by Gita have now been restored.

He’s asking affected Vodafone customers to contact the provider so it can put a call diversion in place from their landline to their mobile.

5:40pm – Cabinet Ministers survey cyclone damage

Two Cabinet Ministers have flown into Golden Bay, Westport and Greymouth by helicopter to survey the damage from Cyclone Gita.

NZN reports Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor also met with civil defence controllers and mayors in each region to discuss the clean-up.

In Golden Bay, Mr O’Conner remarked the vines in the area would be affected by the floods as they are near harvesting.

On the West Coast, Civil Defence staff remarked they were well prepared for the cyclone due to handling the impact of Cyclone Fehi earlier in February.

5:24pm – State of Emergency lifted in Selwyn

As of 4pm the State of Emergency in Selwyn has been lifted.

River levels did not cause problems due to a lower than expected rainfall and no evacuations were required in the Lower and Upper Selwyn Huts.5:00pm – This amazing footage captures the moment a massive shingle fan flows near the Rakaia Gorge.

4:42pm – It will be at least four days before slips are cleared for stranded Golden Bay residents.

“The closure of State Highway 60 has left around 5000 locals and 1000 tourists completely cut off for the next days,” Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne says.

“They have been eager to stock up on supplies… with both the petrol station and the supermarket extremely busy. ”

“The expectation is it that it’ll be at least four days before recovery – and it could be significantly longer.”

FreshChoice is the only supermarket in town and Manager Anthony Tait says, by midday, stock was already running low, so barges are being organised to bring in more supplies.

“It’s probably matching our Christmas sales at the moment, so it’s pretty full-on.”

3:52pm – Helicopter footage has revealed the extent of the damage inflicted to Takaka Hill.

More than 15 slips have blocked and washed away parts of State Highway 60, leaving thousands of Golden Bay residents cut off.

The footage shows the Takaka Hill road cluttered with mud, debris and fallen trees. The highway was closed at 4pm Tuesday as the weather worsened.

Contractors are currently working to clear the damage, which could take several days.


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