New Zealand says reconstruction after Cyclone Gabriel will cost billions of dollars, comparable to the Christchurch earthquake 12 years ago.
Gabriel brought massive flooding to the North Island in mid-February, damaging roads and bridges.
At least 11 people have died so far and thousands are still missing.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Grant Robertson said: “It will be the biggest weather event of the century and will carry a billion-dollar price tag.
Robertson told TVNZ over the weekend that the government would first address the most urgent needs of survivors: food, housing, electricity and communications.
“We have a long way to go in rebuilding from this disaster, but we have the resources and the will to do it,” Robertson said.
Farmers have lost entire crops and herds to the floods and authorities are still deciding how much of it will be covered by insurance, said the minister in charge of rebuilding efforts.
On Monday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins pledged an additional NZ$250m (£129.6m) to repair damaged roads and NZ$50m (£25.9m) to provide immediate relief to businesses. announced a support package for
Robertson added that current approaches to adapting to climate change were “not robust enough” and that the extent of the damage Gabriel suffered was New Zealand’s failure to build climate-resilient infrastructure. criticized.
Tens of billions of dollars in additional infrastructure spending over the next five years will not close the gap, he added. “The deficit is very large and we will not be able to make up for it in the long run,” he said.
Hipkins also said Gabriel’s national emergency will be extended by seven days.
This is the third time in history that New Zealand has declared a national emergency to expedite rescue and relief efforts, the last time being shortly after the Christchurch earthquake.
Hipkins said more than 6,500 people were lost after the cyclone, but added that officials knew about 4,200 of them were safe.
The prime minister said about 15,000 people were still without power in the North Island. About 70% of them are in Napier and the surrounding area.
Many of the roads damaged by Gabriel are still closed. Tank trucks have been unable to collect milk, some logging has been suspended and slaughter has been curtailed, Reuters reported.
The cyclone also disrupted harvests on apple and pear farms, which produce NZ$1 billion a year. Many of these areas are not yet accessible.
Damage to farms could push up food prices and put pressure on inflation, which has already reached 7.2%, the highest in nearly three decades.