A two-year-old has drowned and died in the flash flooding in Eskdale.
The girl, Ivy, is one of the six people known to have been killed in Cyclone Gabrielle.
Her parents Ella and Jack Collins said their youngest daughter was identified and taken to a funeral home after Search and Rescue found her body.
In a Facebook post, Ella said the death was an unavoidable accident.
“Our home, our section and all our belongings have been completely destroyed, the water was about 10cm from the ceiling in our house and rose extremely quickly and violently”.
“We were unable to make it to higher ground due to a sudden torrent of water which almost drowned us all and took Ivy”.
Ella said their Eskdale home, section and all their belongings have been completely destroyed by the cyclone.
She said Jack had played an important role in keeping people safe.
“Jack is the only reason that he, myself, Imogen and our neighbours survived. He is a literal f***ing hero and one day I will tell you all what’s he’s done.
“Our dogs and two of our cats are okay”.
She said the family is being looked after well by their wider family and community.
“We were able to make contact with Jack’s family in Wellington, we are with them now and we are safe and warm”.
The family are asking to have time to ground themselves and navigate the impossible situation they are in.
“I understand many will want to reach out but please keep it to this post and don’t private message me unless it’s urgent”.
“I will read through all comments one day when I can, and when I need to – so please, say what you feel … we are all going to need all the love we can get”.
Ella acknowledged Cyclone Gabrielle is a tragedy that has affected many people and said those people need support.
“I know many are still without communications and may not see this but PLEASE, if you see a way you can help someone near you that is struggling just reach out to them”.
“Sometimes all it takes to warm a soul is a friendly conversation”.
“So please connect if you can, help if you can, and ask for help if you need it”.
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.
- 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.
- If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
- If you don’t need to evacuate, support those who do by staying home, staying off roads and staying safe.
- If you are not able to contact your whānau in the heavily affected areas go to Police 105 website and complete the inquiry form or phone 105 and remember to update if you reconnect through other means.
- Throw away food and drinking water that has come into contact with floodwater as it is often contaminated and can make you sick.
- If you are without power eat the food from your fridge first, then your freezer. Then eat the food in the cupboard or your emergency kit.
- People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of civil defence and emergency services.
- A National State of Emergency is in place for an initial period of seven days and applies to regions that have declared a local State of Emergency.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz