February 20, 2023
PM urges caution on Gabrielle death toll
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is urging people not to be alarmist about the death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle.
As at Sunday night the total number of confirmed deaths was 11, mostly in Te Matau a Maui Hawkes Bay and Te Tairawhiti.
Of about 6000 people reported earlier in the week as uncontactable, Police say they have contacted about half of them.
Mr Hipkins says if people have any concerns or information about loved ones they should inform Police.
“I am aware there are people out there making claims about a much higher death toll. My request to them is if they have any information, make sure you’re reporting that to the police so the police can investigate and follow that up, It’s not unusual in circumstances like this to see people making claims that then don’t bear out with fact. I would just ask people to report information to the police and then the police can report that publicly,” he says.
Police are asking people to use online forms if they have been unable to contact someone after the cyclone, or to report themselves as safe.
The “Registering I’m Alive” form is at: https://forms.police.govt.nz/im-alive
The Person Inquired For report is at: https://forms.police.govt.nz/person-inquired-for