More than a dozen Tongan RSE workers remain trapped by floodwaters in Hastings.
Auckland Tongan community leader Pakilau Manase Lua said families in Tonga watched on as their relatives filmed while perched on roofs surrounded by tree tops.
Tongan RSE workers in Hasting, NZ at this very moment water has now completely covered their cabins & they are forced to find safety on the roof pic.twitter.com/E2jDwmd8Tl
— SARGENT KOHAIKOE (@kohaikoe) February 13, 2023
He said the scenes were harrowing to watch for the families.
Earlier this afternoon he told RNZ the workers had been rescued, however, this was based on some communications that were misunderstood.
Lua said he was told the men were safe and he assumed safe meant rescued but apparently they were “safe on the roof” which he said was not safe at all.
He said he was angry about the way the situation was being handled and it was shaping up as a life or death situation.
He wanted emergency services and the government to organise for them to be rescued.
Lua said the Aotearoa Tonga Response Group has been activated to support Pasifika community members.
Hawke’s Bay is one of six regions to have declared a local state of emergency. Just before 9am today the government declared a national state of emergency.
Napier Airport has had its second wettest day since 1950.
Between 9am Monday and 9am Tuesday, there was 175.8mm of rainfall.
The average amount of rain they get in all of February is 56mm. pic.twitter.com/v9faIY0svJ
— MetService (@MetService) February 13, 2023
National state of emergency: What you need to know
- The New Zealand government has declared a National State of Emergency, to assist in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle.
- The declaration will apply to the six regions that have already declared a local State of Emergency: Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay.
- A national state of emergency gives the national controller legal authority to apply further resources across the country and set priorities in support of a national level response.
National Emergency Management Agency advice:
- Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water. Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
- Stay at home if it is safe to do so. But have an evacuation plan in case your home becomes unsafe to stay in.
- If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
- People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of Civil Defence and emergency services.
- Do not try to walk, play, swim, or drive in floodwater: even water just 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet, and half a metre of water will carry away most vehicles. Flood water is often contaminated and can make you sick.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz