Topic: Weather

Gisborne impacted by Cyclone Pam

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

New Zealand has sent aid to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam hit the pacific island.

There are unconfirmed reports that 14 people have been killed but the toll is expected to rise.

Cyclone Pam has made its way down the East Coast of the North Island.

Gisborne town is deserted, all schools have been closed down for the day and with more around 100 people being evacuated earlier in the day, Civil Defence has turned its attention to Tolaga Bay.

After her path of destruction from Vanuatu, Cyclone Pam still has more to give, and it's the shores of Gisborne that are receiving the brunt of it.

Fireman Peter Clark says, “Try not to get out and about stay home stay safe keep away from high rivers.  Keep away from the coast because the waves will be quite fierce and ferocious.”

With winds howling at 130km/h, coupled with sea swells estimated to get as high as 9m north of Tolaga Bay, Cyclone Pam is leaving her mark in the East Coast.

People in Anaura Bay and Te Araroa have been evacuated to Hinerupe Marae and family members, while the military has been brought in to assist in Waima and Tolaga Bay due to rising river levels, flooded roads and high swells at Waima.

Murray Macaulay from the Army says, “We'll be helping the Civil Defence in whatever they need.  Either go out and warn people, evacuate people or move supplies around if they need.”

Sam Aberehama says, “The picture is changing every hour.  That's serious.  We want to be in a position that we can act before hand so that's there's minimal risk to the safety of our community, our whānau in Tokomaru Bay.”

There has been minimal damage reported, with a few trees coming down and one roof in Hicks Bay ripped off, but the worst of Cyclone Pam is expected to pass through the region by this evening.

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