05 June 2023,   23:31
Cyclone Gabrielle - New Zealanders forced to swim to safety in floods

Residents have been forced to swim to safety from flooded homes in New Zealand after Cyclone Gabrielle lashed the country’s north, writes BBC.

The country announced a national state of emergency on Tuesday after the storm’s devastation - just the third time in its history it’s done so. The storm has caused extensive damage across the North Island - washing away roads and bridges and flooding suburbs. Officials said at least 225,000 people were without power on Tuesday.

Nearly a third of New Zealand’s 5.1 million population live in the affected storm regions - which includes Auckland, the largest city. The storm’s damage has been most extensive in coastal communities on the far north and east coast of the North Island - with spots like Hawkes Bay, Coromandel and Northland among the worst-hit.