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.