New Zealand pledges $720 million for cyclone and flood recovery

Wellington, May 14 (BNA): The New Zealand government said on Sunday that it has allocated 1.1 billion New Zealand dollars ($720 million) to help communities recover from the cyclone and floods that swept the country this year.

It added in a statement that the 2023 budget money would cover the “essentials” of rebuilding roads, railways and schools, as well as flood protection.

Hurricane Gabriel devastated parts of the North Island in February, killing 11 people, after flash floods triggered by record rainfall hit Auckland, the country’s largest city, in January.

“In the 2023 budget, the government is investing $941 million in total operating and $195 million in capital in the next phase of recovery,” the statement said.

The government has estimated the cost of the disasters at up to NZ$14.5 billion, the country’s costliest disaster after the 2011 Canterbury earthquake, which severely damaged Christchurch.

“The recovery package responds to the immediate recovery needs of today and invests in greater resilience for tomorrow,” said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

In the statement, he said the spending “will restore roads, railways, and schools to where they were before severe weather hit this year so that communities can return to normal as quickly as possible.”

In addition to recovery, the funding is for children’s mental health support in the hard-hit Hawke’s Bay and Terahiti regions, job training and flood protection, the government said.

Gabriel, which hit the northern region of the North Island and tracked down the eastern coast, caused widespread devastation.

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Insurers reported in March that they had received 40,000 claims worth about NZ$890 million for damages from the hurricane.


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