A family of eight with children are stuck in a vehicle after being forced to evacuate to higher ground when a bridge was inundated with floodwaters on the East Coast.
An Uawa Tolaga Bay Civil Defence spokesperson told the Herald the family, with infant children, are in contact with authorities after an “ill-advised” decision to attempt to drive across the Arero Rd bridge over the Hikuwai River.
There is no immediate threat to their safety while they are on the hill, the spokesperson said, and Civil Defence authorities are in contact with them every hour.
When asked if the bridge was gone, the spokesperson said it remained unclear but it was no longer visible beneath the flooded river.
Eight North Island regions have now declared states of emergency, with fears that a storm surge tonight - including in Auckland - will lead to more flooding and slips, driven by relentless rain and wind whipped up by Cyclone Gabrielle.
The Hikuwai River at Tolaga Bay with photos taken at 6.54am and 2.36pm today. Photos / Gisborne District Council
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