New Zealand declares emergency as Cyclone Gabrielle eases.

Cyclone Gabrielle swept away roads, inundated homes, and left 225,000 people without power in New Zealand, as a national state of emergency was declared on Tuesday.

Strong winds and driving rain lashed the country’s populous North Island, in what Prime Minister Chris Hipkins called the “most significant weather event New Zealand has seen in this century”.

“The impact is significant and it is widespread,” he said. “The severity and the damage that we are seeing has not been experienced in a generation.”

The severity was revealed in daylight on Tuesday, with roads eaten away by landslips and collapsed homes buried in mud, silt and a slew of storm detritus. Falling trees smashed power lines and floodwaters blocked several major roads, leaving communities stranded.

Local media reported some people being forced to swim from their homes to safety. Others waded through storm waters while some were forced to shelter in place.

An estimated 2,500 people have been displaced from their homes, but that number looks certain to rise.

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