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Cyclone Gabrielle: Hundreds rescued from rooftops as New Zealand grapples with damage

New Zealand officials say at least four people, including a child, have died in the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, which has caused significant flooding and landslides across the North Island.

On Wednesday, officials confirmed a child's body was found in Hawke's Bay, one of the worst-affected regions.

Rescue helicopters there had rescued about 300 people stranded on rooftops.

The cyclone has moved away from New Zealand but about 10,500 people were still displaced on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Wednesday evening said there were also "several people missing for whom the police do hold grave concerns."

Meanwhile, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake was widely felt across the country late on Wednesday. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which struck off the coast of the North Island near the capital Wellington.

While the rain has ceased in most parts, many remote towns and areas remain cut off by high floodwaters and a lack of power.

New Zealand's prime minister Chris Hipkins has called Gabrielle the biggest weather event to hit the country in the past century. It's estimated to affect at least a third of the country's five million population.

The storm's damage has been most extensive in coastal communities on the far north and east coast of the North Island - with areas like Hawke's Bay, Coromandel and Northland among the worst hit.

The situation in Hawke's Bay, a popular tourist destination with some remote towns, was of particular concern to authorities, said Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty.


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