18 Apr 2023

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence's response to Cyclone Gabrielle to be reviewed

2:40 pm on 18 April 2023
Flooding after the Ngaruroro River in Hawke's Bay burst its banks during Cyclone Gabrielle.

The terms of reference of the review are yet to be finalised. Photo: Supplied / Dawson Bliss

The Hawke's Bay region's Civil Defence response to the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle is to be independently reviewed.

Overall, 11 people died in the storm which took out power and communications infrastructure, damaged roads and bridges.

Regional Councillor and chair of the joint committee Hinewai Ormsby said it was vital the five councils in the region identified any lessons that could be learnt.

"The impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle on our region have been devastating and far reaching, first and foremost on our people, particularly those whānau who have lost loved ones," Ormsby said.

"While still early in the event, it is important we move with pace on this review, to ensure our communities are prepared for any event in the future."

Wairoa District Council Mayor Craig Little said the purpose of the review is to assess the performance of the emergency response across the entire Hawke's Bay region, covering the lead up to the cyclone and through to the demobilisation of the group emergency coordination centre.

It will start later this month.

"This review will look at the systems and processes, roles, and responsibilities of the [civil defence] group members and partners.

"We need to ensure a common understanding across the whole region of what occurred, identify the lessons from this event and understand what is needed to improve resilience for all our Hawke's Bay cities, towns and communities," Little said.

The terms of reference of the review were yet to be finalised.

It will be conducted by independent emergency management professionals.

Mayor of Central Hawke's Bay District Council Alex Walker said the joint committee expected central government to hold its own review into the response.

"As a national State of Emergency was declared, we are yet to hear from the government regarding their intent around a national review, but should one be initiated, our operational review will need to complement and inform that process," Walker said.

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