According to New Zealand officials, Cyclone Gabrielle's destruction, which resulted in significant flooding and landslides across the North Island, claimed the lives of at least four people, among them a child.
Officials confirmed a child's body was discovered on Wednesday in Hawke's Bay, one of the worst-affected areas.
About 300 people who were trapped on rooftops there had been rescued by rescue helicopters. .
Although the cyclone has left New Zealand, as of Wednesday, 10,500 people were still without homes.
On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins noted that "several people are missing for whom the police do hold grave concerns.". ".
While most of the rain has stopped, many isolated towns and areas are still cut off due to high floodwaters and a lack of electricity.
Chris Hipkins, the prime minister of New Zealand, described Gabrielle as the nation's worst weather disaster in a century. It is predicted to have an impact on at least a third of the five million people living there.
With regions like Hawke's Bay, Coromandel, and Northland among the worst hit, the storm's damage has been most severe in coastal communities on the far north and east coast of the North Island.
According to Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty, the situation in Hawke's Bay, a well-liked tourist destination with a few outlying towns, was of particular concern to the authorities.
Residents of Hawke's Bay were forced to swim through bedroom windows as the cyclone made landfall on Monday night as the water level rose.
A military spokesperson stated that "in some cases, flood waters were up to the second storey of homes where people were being rescued.".
In the region, at least three people have passed away. Authorities reported that one person was found dead on the shoreline, and another was killed in a landslide at a woman's home. The child was reportedly caught in rising water, according to police.
On Tuesday, authorities also discovered the body of a missing firefighter who had been caught in a landslide west of Auckland.
On Wednesday, Mr. McAnulty stated that it would not be surprising if the death toll increased further.
However, he praised the "phenomenal" work of the rescuers who pulled "about 300 people from rooftops" in Hawke's Bay, including 60 from a sizable structure marooned by floodwaters.
On the island, more than 140,000 people remained without electricity on Wednesday, despite the fact that 80,000 homes had had their electricity restored.
Due to concerns over shortages, residents in hard-hit areas are also being urged to practice water and food conservation.
On Tuesday, New Zealand declared a national state of emergency, allowing it to organize its response to the catastrophe.
Only twice has the nation ever declared a national state of emergency, once at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and once after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
The disaster's scope was attributed to climate change by New Zealand's climate minister.
James Shaw stated in parliament on Tuesday that "the severity of it, of course, [is] made worse by the fact that our global temperatures have already increased by 1.1 degrees.".
We must stop rationalizing our inaction. When the beach is flooded, we are unable to bury our heads in the sand. Now is the time to take action. ".
Only two weeks had passed since the North Island of New Zealand experienced record-breaking rainfall and flooding. In those floods, four people perished.