New Zealand is experiencing its worst storm in a century, leading to severe flooding that has left hundreds stranded and displaced.
It comes just weeks after New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, was hit by its worst flood in modern history.
Cyclone Gabrielle brought torrential rain to the country’s north island starting Feb. 11, and is estimated to have affected five million residents, which is almost a third of New Zealand’s population.
175.8 millimeters of rain was recorded during a 24 hour period, which is three times the average amount seen in February.
Authorities have reported at least five people have died, including a child.
10,500 people have been displaced and around 225,000 people were left without power because of the storm.
“The severity and the breadth of the damage that we are seeing has not been experienced in a generation,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the minister of emergency management, Kieran McAnulty, has described it as “an unprecedented weather event that is having major impacts across much of the North Island”.
The New Zealand government has declared a state of emergency in six regions, the third time in the country’s history.
The storm since moved southeast and away from the island, but authorities have warned residents to remain cautious.
New Zealand’s climate minister, James Shaw, has blamed the severe storm on climate change and called for the country to take direct action on the issue.
“We cannot put our heads in the sand when the beach is flooding. We must act now,” he said during a speech to parliament.