Cyclone Gabrielle: First footage emerges from flood-ravaged Wairoa

Footage has begun emerging from the town of Wairoa after it was ravaged by Cyclone Gabrielle. 

The small Hawke's Bay town is struggling with no communication, no food, and having no choice but to dive into clean-up mode after its river burst its banks and swept through the town.

Streets and homes have been smothered in deep silt leaving everything left in ruins.

"The railway lines looked like a rapid coming down and it happened within two hours," one resident said. 

Cut off by road and phone, the residents are desperate to contact their loved ones and after three days of no communication, people are struggling to hold it together.

"I've got a sister in Gisborne who will be beside herself because we can't get ahold of her," one person said. 

Ian McDonald from Hawke's Bay Civil Defence said in a press conference on Thursday they are working on establishing communications to Wairoa urgently, as well as getting food supplies sent as fast as possible

"We are actually in the progress of establishing a warehouse system where we can have food come in, the food can be packaged, and then the food can be delivered," he said.

McDonald said Civil Defence are looking at a community level of food and water delivery in particular.

A civil defence helicopter delivered 3000 emergency meals and 300 food boxes into Wairoa and Foodstuffs said it will soon be able to get more supplies into the town.

But people in Wairoa are dealing with loss on an unimaginable scale.

With yellow-stickered homes hitting the hundreds, there's no going home any time soon.