Response to Cyclone Gabrielle
Below is information on the New Zealand Defence Force's response to Cyclone Gabrielle. The latest information is at the top.
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A month on since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated areas in the North Island, and the New Zealand Defence Force continues to have around 100 personnel involved in response and recovery efforts on the East Coast.
This includes personnel who are part of the Incident Management Team at the Hawke’s Bay Emergency Coordination Centre, and personnel based at the central distribution centre involved with getting supplies to communities.
Recent tasks include assisting with the planning of bulk fuel distribution, with recces of transport routes to satellite sites where fuel could be taken for further distribution.
NZDF personnel and members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces have also been going to properties in areas that are more difficult to access, and helping out with a range of tasks such as reconnecting household water supplies, clearing silt and debris, and repairing fences.
Welfare checks continue to be carried out, along with reconnaissance of routes.
Last week, personnel were involved in resupply, by ground and air, to affected communities including fuel and moving generators.
Over the course of the response, NZDF medical liaison officers and planners have been involved, and their work has included welfare checks on people in various areas including Patoka. They have also helped with delivering food, water, fuel, hygiene stores, and medical and veterinarian supplies to affected residents.
Our focus is on responding to tasks as assigned by regional civil defence and emergency authorities.
At the height of our response to Cyclone Gabrielle, the NZDF had nearly 1000 personnel, along with several ships, aircraft, and numerous military vehicles involved. The support provided by personnel covered a huge range of roles from liaison officers in emergency coordination centres and the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), through to evacuations, checking and establishing routes to cut-off communities, delivering critical supplies including water, fuel, food and medical supplies, welfare checks on people, clearing flood damage, and helping individuals with tasks on their properties including restoring drinking water supplies.
Since the NZDF began their response to Cyclone Gabrielle:
• Crews on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft have conducted more than 190 hours of flight time, while more than 350,000kms have been driven as part of the NZDF response.
• The NZDF has delivered more than 100,000 litres of fuel and around 9500 litres of water
• More than 739 tonnes of other supplies have been delivered by the NZDF
• Approximately 66,000 meals have been provided to the NZDF and other Government agencies.
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Three weeks on from Cyclone Gabrielle, the New Zealand Defence Force continues to have around 270 personnel involved in response and recovery efforts.
The main focus is on responding to tasks as assigned by NEMA and working alongside other civilian agencies and businesses as they begin their recovery work.
Both NH-90 helicopters supporting the effort have returned to Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea and will continue to support the delivery of critical supplies to isolated communities from their home base in Manawatu.
On the ground, teams are working on reconnaissance missions to assess areas such as Putorino and the Dartmoor Bridge. Further planning for any future tasks for our engineers in areas such as Tutira and Patoka are also underway.
Transport teams continue to work in Gisborne and Tokomaru Bay, and we remain committed to providing assistance to isolated communities as requested.
The Australian Defence Force deployed two C-27J Spartan aircraft and crew, a mobile air load team, and environmental health support staff in support of NEMA and the NZDF. They completed their tasks and left New Zealand late last week. While here, they conducted numerous missions transporting personnel, cargo and relief supplies. The environmental health team spent several days on the East Coast testing potentially hazardous water for waterborne diseases.
The Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) engineers’ and National Fire Authority contingent has been welcomed to Hawke’s Bay with a powhiri by NZDF Task Group East and local iwi.
Personnel continue to support the NEMA distribution centre in Hawke’s Bay to deliver supplies and check in on isolated communities.
Community visits were also conducted around Dartmoor, Puketitri, Putorino, Ruatāhuna, and Whirinaki.
The NH-90 crews delivered fuel drums to Dartmoor, supplies to Puketitiri Fire Station, and medical supplies to Wairoa Hospital.
A SH-2G Seasprite helicopter flew over the coastline and townships north of Gisborne to provide an update on the state of isolated townships and assess access for HMNZS Canterbury’s rigid hull inflatable boats to deliver supplies.
NZDF teams continue to check in on and deliver supplies to other communities, including water resupply to the Whirinaki region.
At the request of the Hawke's Bay Emergency Coordination Centre and NEMA, 11 personnel are supporting the Hawke's Bay Incident Management Team.
Overall, by the numbers, since we began our response to Cyclone Gabrielle:
- NH-90 helicopters have moved more than 53,000kg of freight
- Delivered more than 100,000 litres of fuel and around 4500 litres of water
- Almost 20,000 meals have been provided to the NZDF and other Government agencies.
- 615 tonnes of other supplies have been delivered by the NZDF
- The NZDF has done more than 150 hours of flight time as part of the response
Two weeks on since Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand, we still have around 500 personnel involved in response efforts, as well as three planes, four helicopters, one ship and more than 65 trucks.
In Hawke’s Bay, our logisticians and transport assets continue to support the NEMA distribution centre to deliver supplies and check in on isolated communities.
A Royal Australian Air Force team has conducted surveys of airfields in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions to assess their usability by aircraft such as the C-27Js.
Teams are still out checking routes to isolated communities and supplies have been delivered throughout the region by road and air using NH90 helicopters, a Seasprite helicopter and NZ Army trucks.
The Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) engineers’ contingent has arrived in New Zealand and is currently conducting orientation and integration with the NZDF Joint Task Force. The RFMF team will move into the Hawke’s Bay area in the coming days.
HMNZS Canterbury remains alongside at the Port of Napier and personnel from the ship have been working in the Hastings Distribution Centre and at the Emergency Co-ordination Centre (ECC).
In the Tairāwhiti, Gisborne and East Coast regions we continue to support tasks as requested by the ECC.
A Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft is planning to conduct its first task and the NZDF will be providing support to the Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) combat engineers contingent for when they arrive.
In Tairāwhiti, significant rain has caused routes to re-close and tasks to be delayed due to likelihood of being cut-off.
HMNZS Manawanui has returned to Napier while NZ Army personnel centred in Gisborne continue to support the community in response to tasks from the local emergency management group.
In Hawke's Bay, the inclement weather has had an effect on some of the tasks and access to certain areas.
HMNZS Canterbury is alongside in the Port of Napier delivering supplies and preparing to provide accommodation for 150 emergency responders and foreign military personnel deployed to the region. The ship’s crew are is supporting ECC and distribution centre tasks.
Our C-130 Hercules continues to deliver freight and personnel into Napier and Gisborne.
Our personnel in the Hawke’s Bay area remain ready to respond to any potential ongoing flooding from the new weather system if tasked by NEMA.
In Auckland, three 12-person Local Emergency Response Groups are working on a solid waste disposal task from the Auckland ECC, supported by Waste Solutions staff.
- Two Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft have now arrived at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland and are preparing to deploy in support of NEMA.
- HMNZS Manawanui departed the Port of Napier this morning to drop supplies to Tolaga Bay and check on the welfare of the community there.
- HMNZS Canterbury is alongside in the Port of Napier and has offloaded supplies ready for distribution and begun accommodating emergency responders and foreign military personnel deployed to the region.
- NZ Army personnel centred in Gisborne continue to support the community in response to tasks from the local emergency management group. Light Armoured Vehicles (NZLAV) continue to check accessibility of routes around the Gisborne area.
- The main effort in Hawke's Bay is centred on support to Napier, Hastings, Wairoa and the isolated communities in the region. We have focused on resupplying isolated communities away from the main urban centres with RNZAF NH90 helicopters, RNZN Ships, and NZ Army personnel and vehicles.
- In the last 24 hours the two NH90 helicopters based out of Hawke's Bay have moved 27 people, including the evacuation of two people from Tutira. The helicopters have moved 6320kg of essential supplies including 3200kg by underslung load. They transported two generators to Tutira and Putorino as well as delivering critical supplies to Mohaka and Patoka.
- Over the last seven days, Air Force NH90 helicopters have moved more than 42.5 tonnes of essential supplies throughout Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti. They’ve flown more than 120 flying hours, transported more than 260 personnel (civilian and military), 17 dogs, 5 cats, and underslung more than 13 tonnes of equipment.
- Multiple NZDF teams remain on the ground in affected areas, carrying out community checks, delivering essential supplies and providing support to numerous government agencies. Reconnaissance teams are checking road access around Wairoa and the wider region.
- HMNZS Canterbury has been unloading stores in Napier, and is preparing to host members of the National Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Management Team and accommodate emergency responders who’ve been deployed to the region.
- HMNZS Manawanui continues to provide support to East Coast communities, with crew delivering supplies and checking on the welfare of isolated residents and they will return to communities in the vicinity of Tolaga Bay tomorrow
- HMNZS Manawanui has been checking on isolated coastal communities along the East Coast, delivering supplies and water and food to places such as Tolaga Bay, Waipiro Bay, Motuhina and Waioue Stream.
Two NH90 helicopters have flown generators and electricians to Te Haroto and Tarawera, and essential supplies to Mohaka Marae. They continue to deliver critical supplies to isolated communities and today, transported a health clinic team to check on isolated residents. An Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft transported crucial supplies to Tairāwhiti communities including water, Starlink equipment, oxygen, sanitary items and formula.
Navy divers helped clear the water intake pipe at Gisborne’s water treatment facility and helped clear debris from the surrounding area.
In Hawke’s Bay, NZDF personnel have been carrying out welfare checks and delivering supplies, recovering vehicles and conducting a bridge assessment in Dartmoor, and supporting construction efforts on the roof at Hastings show grounds.
The NZ Army continues to assist the movement of response crews and delivery of aid to hard-to-reach communities, including through ongoing work to check access for military vehicles and conduct welfare checks to communities in Waimarama, Tī Mahanga, Puketapu Bridge, and to the west of Kereru. Team have also provided support to the air distribution centre and clean-up effort in Wairoa.
HMNZS Canterbury is due to arrive in Napier this evening, carrying a range of items to support the response including five Bailey bridges, six utility vehicles, 20 generators, 50 gas bottles, and 120 emergency packs from Ngāi Tahu. On board are also specialist staff from other government agencies such as Environment Canterbury, St John’s, and Waka Kotahi.
In the coming days, two Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan transport aircraft are expected to arrive in New Zealand to support the Cyclone Gabrielle response.
NZDF has more than 950 personnel involved in response efforts and continues to support Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay with multiple activities.
The NZ Army continue to check the viability of routes, deliver water and stores to communities and provide support to distribution centres. Groups continue to move by road to connect with and re-supply communities and assist with the clean-up effort.
Air Force NH-90 helicopters continue to re-supply water, critical fuel and generators to isolated communities, as well as evacuating personnel on request. C-130 Hercules aircraft will be transporting water, Starlink systems, sanitary items, baby formula, oxygen and supplies for other government agencies.
Over the weekend, HMNZS Manawanui offloaded supplies at the Port of Gisborne and cleared the Gisborne Coast Guard boat ramp before sailing to isolated coastal towns for re-supply and checking in on remote coastal communities. Today they will be in the vicinity of Tokomaru and Tolaga Bay providing further support to those communities along the East Coast north of Tairāwhiti.
HMNZS Canterbury departs Lyttelton this evening and is expected to arrive in Napier tomorrow with supplies including five Bailey Bridges, six utility vehicles, 20 generators, 50 gas bottles, and 120 emergency packs, as well as specialist staff from other government agencies such as Environment Canterbury, St John’s, and Waka Kotahi.
The focus of the Defence Force activities this week will be the extensive support of NEMA and it remains ready to respond as required.
We have spent the past 24 hours continuing to surge in support to the areas of the North Island that need it the most following the severe weather damage.
HMNZS Manawanui is now berthed in the Port of Gisborne and following the unloading of supplies, such as water and clothing.
HMNZS Te Mana arrived in Napier yesterday is berthed in the Port of Napier where the ship is offloading 26 tonnes of stores (20,000 litres of water and six tonnes of emergency aid including electricity generators). The ship is also now supporting local agencies.
HMNZS Canterbury berthed in the Port of Lyttelton at 9am today and is now conducting reconstitution and preparing to support the Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle national response efforts. She is scheduled to depart Lyttelton on Monday for Hawke’s Bay.
The NZ Army has checked the inland road route to Wairoa which is now open, and they are now conducting a check of road access to Napier from Wairoa. Some Light Armoured Vehicles (NZLAV) and personnel will also travel to Wairoa to assist with the clean-up.
An NH90 helicopter completed transfer of fuel, water, stores and two electrical generators to Wairoa while another delivered critical water pump components to Wairoa.
NZ Army engineers have established two small water treatment plants (combined, up to 1,000 litres per hour) in Wairoa and are currently undertaking water quality testing before being ready for contingency use if required by the community.
Two 25-person NZ Army emergency response teams have also deployed to Wairoa and Hastings.
An NH90 helicopter has delivered essential supplies to remote communities in Hawke’s Bay high-country areas of Otamori, Patoka and Tutira while another NH90 in Auckland conducted a delivery of essential food and water to an isolated community in Waiatarua.
There are currently two NH90, deployed to Hastings, and a C-130 Hercules aircraft that remain on standby and available for tasking in support of the national response with a focus on the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions.
As far as updates in Northland, the NZ Army has provided emergency supplies to Dargaville and an NH90 conducted reconnaissance and transport tasks around Whangarei and Kerikeri and delivered stores to isolated areas, including an essential resupply to Swanson.
Looking forward for the next 24 hours, a C130 Hercules flight is planned from Whenuapai via Wellington to Napier and Gisborne that will be delivering more than 220kg of pharmaceuticals, nappies and sanitary items, 40 x water bladders, a generator and NZDF Starlink equipment.
A King Air 350 aircraft will look to do a reconnaissance flight from Napier to Gisborne.
Our two ships, HMNZS Manawanui and HMNZS Te Mana, will continue with bottled water deliveries and respond to tasks as required.
We continue to have more than 700 personnel deployed as part of Operation Awhina and to respond to tasks assigned to us from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The below is a quick snapshot of what the Defence Force has been involved in over the past 24 hours by region, and what we are planning over the next few days.
HMNZS Manawanui has made its way to the Tairāwhiti coastal region. The ship dropped off stores and provided support to the community in Tokomaru. The ship was anchored off Gisborne and conducted a survey of the harbour area and berth and supplies were ferried ashore by rigid hull inflatable life rafts.
A C-130 Hercules this afternoon Auckland with a further water treatment plant that will help restore water facilities to Gisborne and it will arrive this evening. It will also have on-board medical supplies including 80 oxygen bottles and electrical supply parts to assist in the reconnection of power.
The LAV road checks on the inland road between Murupara and Wairoa have been completed successfully. This will now allow heavy emergency vehicles to move critical supplies into these areas. The team are also identifying suitable areas for helicopters to land and bring in supplies.
Focussing in on Wairoa specifically, we can confirm the water treatment units we moved yesterday are installed, and are being tested to ensure fresh water will be available to the community.
This afternoon, NH90 helicopters were flying in vital water pump parts to help overcome the damage cause to pipes in the region.
Beyond the water support, we also have four Defence Force staff with communications assisting the local responders in Wairoa.
Moving down to the Hawke’s Bay, we can confirm that HMNZS Te Mana has arrived. The ship has 26 tonnes of equipment on board including food, water, fuel, shelters, clothing, and electrical generators, and will complete harbour safety checks before offloading supplies.
Given the scale of the destruction, the NZ Army has now established a headquarters in Napier to help focus and coordinate our efforts in the Hawke’s Bay response. We have also deployed our mortuary affairs unit to Napier to support New Zealand Police.
Army Engineers are preparing to support the construction of Bailey bridges, otherwise known as temporary bridges, as requested by NEMA.
A further 480 Army personnel across a variety of capabilities from Linton and Burnham stand ready to be called forward on request. These include people with skills such as builders, plumbers, electricians, caterers and transport.
Yesterday, Reservists from Hawke’s Bay 5/7 Battalion were able to reach a Marae in Puketapu where around 200 residents were sheltering. They told the soldiers, who delivered water, food and diesel, that they were the first outsiders they had seen in days.
Our three NH90 helicopters have been busy continuing with evacuations and transporting people and emergency supplies throughout the wider region.
In terms of additional capabilities, HMNZS Canterbury has completed tasks in the Sub-Antarctic Islands and is now returning to New Zealand. The ship will be in Lyttelton by Saturday and available for movement of stores and to support to the Hawke’s Bay region. Canterbury is an extremely versatile and capable ship, it can carry 33 shipping containers, 270,000 litres of water and can produce a further 70,000 litres per day. It also has a Seasprite helicopter on board.
With a better picture of the range of emerging tasks, we have now reached out to our colleagues in Australia to seek some help. At this stage, we are finalising the details but anticipate an additional aircraft and support staff will arrive next week. This will ensure continuity of support through this period of high tempo operations.
Today’s latest updates of our efforts in response to Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle are as follows:
HMNZS Manawanui has made its way to the Tairāwhiti coastal region. The ship dropped off stores and provided support to communities within Tairāwhiti. The ship is this morning anchored off Gisborne and is conducting a deliberate assessment of Gisborne Port to ensure vessels can berth safely.
HMNZS Te Mana sailed from Auckland for Napier at 1800 yesterday with 26 tonnes of stores and equipment on board such as HADR equipment, food, water, fuel, shelter, and generators.
The ship will support East Coast impacted communities en route to Napier as required and is currently transiting the Bay of Plenty.
HMNZS Canterbury has completed tasks in the Sub-Antarctic Islands and is returning to New Zealand. The ship will be in Lyttelton by Saturday and available for movement of store and/or support to the Hawke’s Bay region.
The NZ Army is establishing a headquarters in Napier to coordinate the East Coast response.
Army Engineers are preparing to support the construction of Bailey bridges (temporary bridges) as requested by NEMA.
A further 480 Army personnel across a variety of capabilities from Linton and Burnham stand ready to be called forward on request. These include but are not limited to; bridging, builders, plumbers, electricians, communications, catering, transport and other skills.
Our NH90 helicopters evacuated around 250 people in Hawke’s Bay, from around the Puketapu area, as well as transporting other people from Gisborne to Wairoa and Napier.
A C-130 Hercules moved 16 Army personnel, New Zealand Police, engineers, an Army communications vehicle and a reverse osmosis trailer to Gisborne.
Two more C130 flights are planned to facilitate a changeover of oxygen bottles in Gisborne, move general emergency stores and equipment to Gisborne, and then a reconnaissance flight over the Bay of Plenty and East Coast coastline.
The NZDF have also surged seven planning staff to assist all of government (NEMA) planning efforts.
Update as of 1600:
It has been another busy day of responding for the Defence Force. We have more than 700 personnel deployed, with more available if required.
Today’s update is as follows:
- HMNZS Manawanui has this afternoon arrived in the Tairawhiti coastal region and has dropped off food and water in Tokomaru Bay. This has very gratefully received by the locals in the area. We expect the ship to reach Tolaga Bay this evening and then Gisborne tomorrow morning where the ship will prepare to assist the community.
- HMNZS Te Mana is preparing to depart Auckland tonight for Napier.
- The Army has more personnel to deploy if needed. They have two Light Armoured Vehicles – LAV – that are checking a road route to Gisborne. This is in order to possibly move a much larger military reverse osmosis water treatment plant. This capability cannot be moved by air transport.
- C-130 aircraft are planning to move Army personnel to Gisborne, move a second military reverse osmosis water treatment plant to Gisborne, and move two Transpower 4x4 vehicles and crews from Christchurch to Kerikeri.
- NH90 helicopters will also move a small military reverse osmosis water treatment plant, as well as Army staff from Gisborne to Wairoa. A further NH90 will remain in Auckland ready to support as required.
- Army personnel and eight Unimogs supported response and relief efforts in the Auckland and Northland regions. These regions are slowly transitioning to recovery.
The below is an update on the tasks and missions NZDF has been involved in over the past 24 hours and what is to come today:
HMNZS Manawanui departed Auckland yesterday for the East Coast and the approximate timings over today and tomorrow are:
- 3pm Tokomaru
- 7pm Tolaga Bay
HMNZS Manawanui will then transit to arrive off the coast of Gisborne on Friday morning.
HMNZS Te Mana is leaving Auckland for the Hawke's Bay with supplies. HMNZS Canterbury is currently on Operation Endurance in the Sub-Antarctic Islands. However, that task is likely to be concluded today so that the ship can be available for tasking by the National Emergency Management Agency.
Two Light Armoured Vehicles (NZLAV) from the NZ Army will check a road route to Gisborne in order to potentially move a larger military reverse osmosis water treatment plant and Army staff to Gisborne. This plant is too large for air transport and is capable of producing 3000 litres per hour.
C-130 Hercules aircraft will move Army personnel to Gisborne, a second military reverse osmosis water treatment plant to Gisborne, and two Transpower 4x4 vehicles and crews from Christchurch to Kerikeri.
The NZDF will move a military reverse osmosis water treatment plant and Army staff from Gisborne to Wairoa.
A logistics support team of 100 people and 30 vehicles (Unimog and Pinzgauer) have forward deployed to Hawke’s Bay. The logistics team will comprise specialists in catering, medical, transport, fuel and vehicle repair.
A NH90 helicopter has moved NZDF military satellite communications staff to Wairoa and a C-130 Hercules has moved Army satellite communications staff to Gisborne to establish communications and situational awareness for local emergency management staff. The NH90 helicopter will also be available for moving emergency supplies, such as food, around the region.
The C-130 Hercules also transported 600kg of civilian communications equipment and 45 oxygen bottles to Gisborne Hospital.
NZ Army convoy in Hastings
The New Zealand Defence Force continues to increase its support for the response to Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, surging in hundreds of personnel and a variety of assets on the ground, from the air and at sea.
Currently NZDF has more than 700 personnel involved in relief efforts, an increase from 239 yesterday.
We have the following number of assets involved in our response:
- Aircraft - 4
- Helicopters – 7
- Ships - 2
- Trucks – 58
Our main priority is to support the Government, specifically the National Emergency Management Agency, to save New Zealanders from immediate and serious threats to life or limb. We are also assisting in gaining situational awareness of the challenges and environmental conditions to help inform planning and tasking of capabilities.
Today we have:
- Supported the facilitation and establishment of civil communications for emergency services in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.
- Moved capabilities to be ready to provide real life support (food, water, shelter) to remote communities. This includes arranging to deploy two Royal New Zealand Navy ships (HMNZS Manawanui and HMNZS Te Mana) to supply water and other supplies to remote communities in the Tairawhiti coastal region and Hawke’s Bay. HMNZS Manawanui set sail on Wednesday afternoon with supplies, destined for Tairawhiti coastal region – to arrive first light Friday into Gisborne for a boat transfer. HMNZS Te Mana will sail on Thursday with 25-strong Naval personnel group to Napier, supplying Wairoa with water and other essential supplies en-route.
- Army personnel and 20 Unimogs continue to support evacuation and relief efforts in the East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel regions.
- Army personnel and eight Unimogs are supporting response and relief efforts in the Auckland and Northland regions.
- One C-130 Hercules is conducting surveillance and reconnaissance along the East Coast
- Another C-130 Hercules has moved communications staff (and a Pinzgauer truck) from Linton to Gisborne to establish communications and situational awareness
- Three NH90s conducted tasking in Hawke’s Bay – primarily the evacuation of people, and movement of staff to remote regions. Two are prepared to deploy.
- A Seasprite helicopter has been conducting surveillance and reconnaissance in Coromandel.
- Supported all of government situational awareness through surveillance, reconnaissance, analysis, imagery production, and reporting.
- A Combat Service Support Team (CSST) of up to 100 people and 30 vehicles (Unimogs and Pinzgauers) are forward deploying to Hawke’s Bay. The CSST will comprise: transport, communications, catering, repair, command and control.
- Proactively pushed forward NZDF capabilities to impacted areas to be prepared to respond.
- Arranging the movement of water treatment plants to Gisborne and Wairoa as required.
- Reducing the notice to move of further key capabilities in anticipation of more requests and tasking.
An NH90 helicopter and crew from No. 3 Squadron have carried out a reconnaissance flight from Napier to Wairoa to survey the areas and assess flood damage.
More than 250 NZDF personnel from across the Royal New Zealand Navy, NZ Army, and Royal New Zealand Air Force are currently involved in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle.
The NZDF has had personnel responding to the multiple events that are occurring across the North Island, with a particular focus now on the Hawke’s Bay. The NZDF has also been involved in a number of rescues in the Hawke’s Bay.
We are working hard alongside our partner agencies, and civil defence and emergency authorities, to respond to community needs including evacuations and requests for help. NEMA remains the lead agency to the National State of Emergency.
We have placed personnel in units across the three Services on shortened notices to move, and will assist civil authorities with responses in different regions, with personnel being sent to where we’re needed most.
A breakdown of NZDF assets responding:
- More than 250 NZDF personnel from across the Royal New Zealand Navy, NZ Army, and Royal New Zealand Air Force are currently involved in the response to the Cyclone
- 4 x NH90 helicopters, one in Northland and three in Hawke’s Bay supporting response
- 1 x Seasprite helicopter
- 1 x C130H Hercules transport aircraft
- HMNZS Manawanui
- A convoy of trucks and at least 100 personnel from 1 Brigade at Linton to Hawke’s Bay region.
Unimog truck qualified personnel have deployed from Whenuapai to Whangarei in order to reinforce NZDF personnel attached to Northland Regional Council ECC.
NH90 helicopter was tasked to support FENZ response to Northland ECC. Tasks include airborne reconnaissance and photography, personnel transport and cargo movement. This movement of cargo included vital cancer medication for patients in Northland.
Devonport Naval Base also has personnel on standby ready to move for emergency response in Northland region if needed.
Devonport Naval Base has personnel ready to move for emergency responses in the Auckland region. The NZDF has had numerous missions in the region over the past 48 hours, completing evacuations and rescues.
Coromandel/ Bay of Plenty
A Royal New Zealand Navy Seasprite helicopter has been tasked with a surveillance flight across the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty
A C130 Hercules transport aircraft will conduct a surveillance flight across the East Coast area, including Wairoa.
Three NH90 remained in the region overnight and will begin tasks today at direction of NEMA. The main area of priority is the Esk Valley.
A C130 Hercules transport aircraft has been tasked with taking blood and oxygen supplies to Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
HMNZS Manawanui is preparing to depart from Devonport Naval Base for Napier once it has been determined what supplies are required and it has been loaded.
A convoy of trucks and at least 100 personnel from 1 Brigade at Linton are travelling to the Hawke’s Bay region to assist.
Three NH90 helicopters responded to the Hawke’s Bay area as part of a multi-agency response being led by the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand. One of the tasks involved recovering people from the rooftops of their homes in Esk Valley, Napier.
Other tasks have involved the movement of around 60 to 100 people from Hastings, as well as move medical supplies around the region.
- At least 200 NZDF personnel from across the Royal New Zealand Navy, NZ Army, and Royal New Zealand Air Force are currently involved in the response to the extreme weather event.
- The NZDF has personnel responding to the multiple events that are occurring concurrently across the North Island. We are working hard alongside our partner agencies, and civil defence and emergency authorities, to respond to community needs including evacuations and requests for help.
- With the national state of emergency, we are placing personnel in units across the Services on shortened notices to move and will assist civil authorities with responses in different regions, with personnel being sent to where we’re needed most.
- An NH90 helicopter departed Base Auckland this afternoon in Whenuapai, taking medical supplies to Whangarei Hospital, before conducting a reconnaissance flight over Dargaville to survey damage and transport of personnel and cargo.
- Three helicopters to assist with Esk Valley evacuations and tasks in other locations in Hawke’s Bay.
- NZ Army regular and reserve forces have been involved in rescues and response in Esk Valley, Napier and wider Hawke’s Bay. Four more trucks left for Napier today to assist with evacuations of residents.
- HMNZS Te Mana will return a rescued sailor to Devonport Naval Base this evening after a successful search and rescue operation alongside partner agencies where the solo sailor was found on his yacht that was in distress in the Hauraki Gulf and taken to safety on board the ship.
- Reserve Force personnel from 3/6 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment have been clearing fallen trees in Coromandel to provide water to residents in Matarangi. There are approximately 25 personnel responding, with one group in the Coromandel and one in the Bay of Plenty, supported by reservists in 1 Field Squadron, Waikato Mounted Riles and Defence Recruiting Office.
- An additional six Unimog qualified personnel have gone to Whangarei to reinforce the NZDF element attached to the Northland Regional Council Emergency Coordination Centre.
We have deployed four NH90 helicopters and crew from No. 3 Squadron to assist with the response to Cyclone Gabrielle. One helicopter departed Base Auckland in Whenuapai to deliver supplies to Whangārei Hospital and then will survey damage in Dargaville. The other three NH90 helicopters left Base Ohakea to head to the Hawke's Bay region, where they are assisting local authorities where required.
We are ready and responding with lead emergency management agencies and our thoughts are with the many communities who are affected by the devastation Cyclone Gabrielle is having across the motu.
We have approximately 150 personnel and vehicles ready and responding, across the Northland, Auckland, Thames Coromandel, Hawke’s Bay and BOP areas.
Overnight our personnel have been supporting Fire And Emergency New Zealand, New Zealand Police and St John at Muriwai Beach on Auckland’s West Coast, through the transportation of two casualties, and the conduct of evacuations from the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Personnel responded to the situation in Muriwai with additional emergency supplies and supported the evacuation over 100 residents from Muriwai to other Civil Defence centres in Auckland.
Up North, personnel have this morning responded to a request from emergency services to assist with evacuating residents after the Dargarville River burst its banks this morning.
New Zealand Army Reservists were in Ōpōtiki last night offering assistance to residents who needed to evacuate their homes.
13 February: Ready to respond across the Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty areas.
As weather intensifies across the North Island, the New Zealand Defence Force is working alongside North Island Regional Emergency Management in preparation to respond to the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
About 150 NZDF personnel and mix of vehicle types are positioned ready to respond across the Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty areas.
Teams have also been assisting in the establishment of Civil Defence centres and shelters across Auckland including delivering more than 50 pallets of emergency supplies including blankets, tea, coffee, air mattresses, sleeping bags and warm clothes.
NZ Defence Force liaison officers have now co-located with emergency management staff at Auckland Civil Defence Centres.
Personnel from the New Zealand Army’s 3/6 Battalion were out today helping engineers from the Thames-Coromandel District Council.
The Army Reservist’s assisted in sandbagging a low spot on the beachfront of Buffalo Beach in Whitianga this morning.
12 February: NZ Army delivers emergency supplies ahead of cyclone Gabrielle
Today personnel from the New Zealand Army’s 16 Field Regiment assisted in delivering and unloading more than 50 pallets of emergency supplies to the central distribution centre in Auckland ahead of the severe weather from Cyclone Gabrielle.
We have more than 100 personnel ready to respond in Northland and Auckland, with others on standby or on their way to other regions such as Coromandel.
Our personnel have also been busy assisting the setup of Civil Defence Centres across Auckland, and remain ready to help with the planning and response over the coming days.
Rough weather is forecast for across the North Island - please take care, check on your neighbours and follow the advice of emergency response agencies.
11 February: NZDF continues to support preparations ahead of cyclone Gabrielle
Today we have been out in Auckland communities helping remove flood-damaged waste ahead of forecast severe weather.
Teams were out in suburbs, such as Mt Eden and Mangere, assisting with the solid waste removal at the request of Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management.
Our specialist response teams also remain ready to assist civil defence and emergency authorities in anticipation of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the upper North Island.
10 February: NZDF deploys specialist team and clean-up parties as Cyclone Gabrielle approaches
The New Zealand Defence Force will have around 100 personnel in Auckland communities this afternoon helping remove flood-damaged waste ahead of forecast severe weather, while a specialist team is positioned to assist Auckland civil defence.
A team from Wellington’s Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (DJIATF) has travelled to Auckland to stand ready to assist civil defence and emergency authorities in anticipation of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the upper North Island.
“NZDF personnel are assisting Auckland authorities with recovery efforts following the 27 January flooding, and we’re also ready to respond in the event of a further emergency response,” said Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour.
Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management has asked the NZDF to help implement the urgent aspects of its solid waste action plan.
Auckland authorities are concerned about the risk to people’s health from contaminated waste in and around people’s homes, and there is concern that with the more severe weather forecast that waterways could be potentially contaminated with large piles of curb-side waste.
Teams of up to 30 Air Force and Navy personnel have been in communities last week helping get flood-damaged household furnishings and rubbish to the curb to be collected by Council Waste Solutions staff and trucks.
To help with the waste removal plan, Auckland Emergency Management staff were taken on two flights on SH-2G(I) helicopters to identify the worst affected areas of waste build-up.
Yesterday, 52 NZDF personnel from Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland (Whenuapai) and Devonport Naval Base were out helping clear flood-damaged waste including around Riverhead.
By this afternoon, around 100 personnel (expected to be around 40 Army, 30 Air Force and 30 Navy personnel) will be assisting with waste removal, and they’ll be working over the weekend to help clear waste ahead of the forecast severe weather.
The Joint Command and Reconnaissance Team from the DJIATF will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland, with a liaison officer in the Auckland Emergency Command Centre to help coordinate tasks.
Personnel from DJIATF are among the NZDF’s early responders in times of crisis such as natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes.
Thursday, 2 February:
Local Emergency Response Groups at RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai), Devonport Naval Base and 1 (NZ) Brigade at Linton Military Camp have been on notice to move to support local tasks across any affected area.
There are likely to be fewer requests for NZDF support in Auckland as the situation has moved from an immediate emergency response to the recovery phase.
The NZDF has liaison officers in the National Emergency Management Agency, Auckland ECC, and liaison officers plus assistants in three civil defence centres in Auckland.
Teams of personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy went to several locations in Auckland this morning to help communities with the removal of flood-damaged waste, such as household furnishings, for collection by commercial waste management contractors. Twenty personnel were involved.
The teams went to Milford, Mt Eden and Pukekohe.
A team of four personnel from RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai) was today assisting with the pack-up and relocation of displaced people who have been staying at the Kelston Civil Defence Centre. This centre is relocating to Henderson.
Wednesday, 1 February
Crew on a SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopter took Auckland Emergency Management staff on a reconnaissance flight over areas of Auckland to assess flood damage and waste build-up. RNZAF personnel provided analysis of imagery from the flight to assist Auckland Council with waste management planning.
Personnel also assisted residents in Waimoko, who had asked for help with clearing flooded housing, moving gear and loading skip bins.
Tuesday, 31 January:
A team of 25 personnel from RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai) were on stand-by to assist with community clean-up in two Auckland suburbs. The NZDF sent small reconnaissance teams to Sunnynook and Mangere to scope the tasks and although they were not needed to help with a community clean-up, while they were in these communities they assisted where possible, including with picking up rubbish from the flood damage.
Two Unimog trucks, each with three personnel on board, travelled to Kaitaia, Northland, to be ready to assist with evacuations if needed. A third Unimog went from Auckland to Whangarei.
A Unimog truck also went to Warkworth ahead of the worst of the weather. Supplies including sleeping bags and stretchers had already been made available to the Warkworth Civil Defence Centre.
The NZDF has liaison officers (LO) in situ or on call at seven emergency control centres and civil defence centres to help coordinate requests for assistance as required. This includes an LO in the National Emergency Management Agency, an LO in the Auckland Emergency Control Centre, and an LO in the Northland Emergency Control Centre. Liaison officers are also in the Kelston Civil Defence Centre and the Warkworth Civil Defence Centre, with others on call for the North Shore Civil Defence Centre and the Manurewa Civil Defence Centre. Another person from RNZAF Base Auckland has also gone to Kelston Civil Defence Centre to assist as required. Two personnel from RNZAF Base Auckland assisted with the setting up the Kumeu Evacuation Centre.
Basic supplies such as towels, toilet paper, baby food, nappies, and sanitiser have been provided to civil defence centres.
Over the weekend (27-30 Jan):
Crew on our RNZAF C-130 Hercules transported the Prime Minister, and staff from the National Emergency Management Agency and Fire and Emergency NZ to Auckland on Saturday. The Prime Minister was taken up on one of our Seasprite helicopters to survey the damage from the air on Saturday. A Unimog truck also took supplies up to Warkworth on Saturday.
On Friday night, six Royal New Zealand Air Force firefighters – using a domestic fire appliance, Unimog truck and four-wheel drive vehicle - were out with Fire and Emergency NZ assisting with evacuations, and a liaison officer went to West Harbour Fire Station to assist with coordinating the response from our team.