The Headlines: Cyclone Gabrielle Devastates New Zealand

Unpacking the New Zealand Cyclone Damage

As of February 14, Cyclone Gabrielle is crippling huge chunks of New Zealand. Buildings and rivers have flooded, 100 km and faster winds have raged, and heaps of debris is everywhere. What’s more, at least 21,000 homes, which are still standing, have been left with no power. A firefighter in Auckland’s Muriwai is missing after a landslide took place.

This situation has caused Kieran McAnulty, New Zealand’s Minister for Emergency Management, to announce a national state of emergency. It’s worth noting though that this national state of emergency only applies to six regions. Those regions being: Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Northland, Tairāwhiti, and Waikato. 

“The local leadership, Civil Defence Emergency Management groups, and emergency responders in all of the affected areas have been doing an outstanding job, but the widespread damage caused by this cyclone means we need a National declaration to support them,” said McAnulty. 

“A National State of Emergency gives the National Controller legal authority to apply resources across the country in support of a national level response.”

This is only the third National State of Emergency that New Zealand has ever called for. Let’s just hope that this New Zealand cyclone event ends soon.

Türkiye and Syria’s Earthquake Death Toll Exceeds 36,000

In more tragic news, the body count in both Türkiye and Syria has continued to climb. On February 6, a magnitude 7.8 quake hit these countries. What followed was buildings collapsing, a series of landslides, and bodies being pulled from the rubble. As of February 14, 36,000 people in these countries have died. 

Additionally, the United Nations’ Aid Chief, Martin Griffiths, has announced this organisation will soon be winding down its rescue operations in Syria. This is so the United Nations can put more of its time and energy into helping those who survived this catastrophe. 

“What we’ve seen happening in these zones of the earthquake is that the rescue phase is dragging live people out from the rubble and finding those who died in the rubble, that’s coming to a close,” said Griffiths. “And now the humanitarian phase, the urgency of providing shelter, psychosocial care, food, schooling, and a sense of the future for these people, that’s our obligation now.”

Related: Earthquake in Türkiye — Here’s What You Can Do to Help

Related: What It’s Like to Be an Asylum Seeker or Refugee in Australia

The Broken Hill Girl Helping LGBTQIA+ Peeps

Okay folks, let’s end things on a hopeful note. In NSW’s Broken Hill, a 13-year-old named Abbie Kelly started putting a rainbow pattern of beads on her shoelaces. Kelly did this as a demonstration that she was proud to be LGBTQIA+ and to support other LGBTQIA+ folks in the country. 

Additionally, this small action has snowballed into a whole movement. Kelly started giving her beads away in Broken Hill, and then thanks to social media, individuals in places like the United States and the United Kingdom now want them. Thanks to Kelly, people across the planet now want to have a rainbow of beads on their shoelaces. 

“Since starting this project, I feel so much more comfortable with who I am as a person,” said Kelly.

“I had no idea it would be so big.”

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