Recovery efforts continued in hard-hit areas of New Zealand on Friday after Cyclone Gabrielle caused chaos, leaving at least seven people dead and displacing 10,000 people in the country's most damaging storm in decades.
Gabrielle, which hit New Zealand on Sunday before making its way down the east coast of the North Island, cut off entire towns, washed away farms, bridges and livestock, and inundated homes, stranding people on rooftops.
The death toll was at seven after a second volunteer firefighter, Craig Stevens, died in a hospital after being caught in a landslide near Auckland earlier in the week, and a body was found near Napier.
Authorities warned that the country needed to prepare for the death toll to rise.
Communication and access to a number of areas remained difficult, and surveillance flights were being undertaken to survey the damage and locate those who may be isolated. Convoys of trucks carrying essential items such as food, water, medicine and fuel made their way into remote areas, and the defense force was using ships to transport needed items into areas of the east coast.
Kiri Allan, minister of regional development, who also lives in one of the most badly affected areas, told 1News that supplies had been reaching some of the most isolated communities, supermarkets were now better stocked, and the phone network was even returning in small areas.
"Huge infrastructure challenges ahead of us. Once we get through this immediate response, we will get a great toll in terms of the cost and what we need to do," she said.
In Hawke's Bay, helicopters and boats were going out to check on people in isolated communities while search-and-rescue teams continued to operate.
The weather began to improve. Meteorological service MetService said it no longer had any weather warnings in place in New Zealand, and sunshine was forecast for most of the North Island.