Cyclone Gabrielle: Fifty-six people remain uncontactable, police say many 'simply have not realised' they've been reported missing

The number of confirmed deaths remains at 11.
The number of confirmed deaths remains at 11. Photo credit: NZ Police

Fifty-six people across Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti remain uncontactable following Cyclone Gabrielle.

A police spokesperson said more than 100 police staff have been working to match and verify people reported as uncontactable, with those reported safe or found.

"All 56 people that remain uncontactable as of 2pm today are from Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti areas."

The spokesperson said police are prioritising uncontactable person enquires, with over 70 officers on the ground. 

"[Staff have been] out in force for the past week visiting homes, alternative accommodation, evacuation centres and other locations."

Police have received new reports of uncontactable people, with a total of 6960 reports logged so far, as of 2pm Thursday.

"While the total number of those still to be contacted has reduced significantly, we know there are families out there deeply concerned for the welfare of their loved ones."

Police said the people who remain uncontactable include those who, "for a variety of reasons", do not engage with authorities.

"Regardless, police staff are exploring all avenues to try and locate them."

Police are urging anyone who has been in contact with someone previously reported as uncontactable to let police know.

"We believe many of these people simply have not realised they have been reported missing."

The spokesperson added a significant amount of police staff remain in the Eastern District with support from the Eagle helicopter.

The number of confirmed deaths remains at 11.