Police, including specialist Search and Rescue staff, are continuing 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,” said Auckland City CIB’s Detective Senior Sergeant Lisa Anderson.
“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, Det Snr Sgt Anderson said.
“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 on Thursday, 3,544 people had been registered via the Police 105 online reporting form as uncontactable – the 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,” Det Snr Sgt Anderson said.
“450 people have reported themselves safe however we expect that number to rise significantly,” she said.
“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.”