Cyclone response in recovery phase in Far North
Published on 22 February 2023
As the response to Cyclone Gabrielle entered the recovery phase yesterday (Tuesday 21 February 2023) the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) set up at council headquarters in Kaikohe was stood down. Council staff are receiving messages of thanks from local marae and communities for their support during the cyclone.
The EOC was stood up on Sunday 12 February to co-ordinate the response to unfolding emergencies resulting from Cyclone Gabrielle and to ensure usual council operations could continue. EOC staff were tasked with collecting, gathering and analysing weather-related information and making decisions necessary to protect life and property.
Winds of 141 km/h were recorded at Cape Reinga as the cyclone hit the country on Sunday 12 February. High winds and heavy rain caused widespread power outages, damaged cell phone towers, and isolated Far North communities. A total of 29 roads were closed or partially closed during the storm. The biggest wave recorded during the cyclone was 10.9 metres in the Bay of Islands. Hundreds of homes were still without power a week after the cyclone struck despite the best efforts of Top Energy NZ.
Representatives from emergency services – police, fire and ambulance – were part of the EOC, along with Civil Defence Northland and local council staff. Civil Defence staff from other regions and other national agencies were also drafted in to help with the response, including National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), NZ Response Teams (NZ-RTs) and NZ Emergency Management Assistance Team (EMAT).
The EOC co-ordinated the delivery of 11 pallets of food; sent out water tankers to Rāwene, Panguru and Ōmanaia; and issued one property in the Bay of Islands with a red placard after evacuating a resident. A week after the cyclone, the cost directly attributed to Far North District Council for clean-up operations was sitting at $10,000.
As part of the recovery phase Far North Kahika (Mayor) Moko Tepania established a Mayoral relief fund to assist people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. People wishing to donate can contact our call centre on 0800 920 029 for extra details. Those who need to apply to the fund can download an application from our website or email email@example.com.
Regular updates on road closures or other weather-related events were published on the FNDC website Cyclone Gabrielle - updates news story webpage. Updates were also shared to the FNDC Facebook page. During a natural disaster or severe weather event, Far North residents are urged to keep up-to-date with the latest information from council sources.