Cyclone Gabrielle: Footage emerges of lifesavers rescuing dozens of people from roofs in Hawke's Bay

More incredible video has emerged of lifesavers rescuing dozens of people from roofs in the height of the flooding in Hawke's Bay.

Hundreds of families remain cut off in the area and are in need of critical supplies, although aid was delivered by air to those in the settlement of Waihau on Sunday.

Ninety-eight families are isolated due to washed-out roads and bridges, including Colin and Jo Campbell. 

"We're isolated from the Dartmoor end. The bridges are out so we're isolated," Colin said.

They're trying to get back to life as normal, but nothing's normal about this.

"The main thing we're short of is generators, petrol, diesel, and LPG."

But Jo said they're grateful they're safe.

"We're all alive and we can be thankful for that. We've just got to take one day at a time." 

But for the isolated, the need for aerial supply drops remains immense. 

"We're up to 20 or 30 a day, but we've also got to move generators around to try and keep the cell towers going," said RNZAF 3 Squadron pilot Andrew Stewart.

It is six days into this emergency and so many families remain isolated. Aid drops remain crucial.

On the ground, there was a grid search for bodies off Whirinaki Beach. The surf lifesaving crew were also mapping debris.

"We're doing our bit to help out marking the hazards in the water and those sorts of things, logging it all and sending it back so everyone can stay safe out in the water," said Ian Horsefield, Surf Lifesaving NZ volunteer.

He added those on the water are also looking for any bodies.

Cyclone Gabrielle: Footage emerges of lifesavers rescuing dozens of people from roofs in Hawke's Bay
Photo credit: Newshub.

On Tuesday when the floods hit, surf lifesaving volunteers didn't hesitate and they motored up the inundated Napier-Hastings Expressway to help. Incredible footage shows them in inflatable rescue boats going through the streets as floodwaters submerged buildings and vehicles.

They went into Pakowhai where they rescued 190 people from rooftops. 

Surf lifesavers coordinated from below as the Defence Force winched from above. 

"When they got to Pakowhai, they assisted approximately 190 people off roofs and mounds of shingle," said Jess Bennett from Surf Lifesaving NZ.

"It was honestly unimaginable. I don't think anyone can understand exactly what happened that day."

They also saved lives in Eskdale. 

"As we came down into the Esk Valley off Hill Road, it was pretty hard to describe to be honest. It was unimaginable," Bennett said.

First responders have been working around the clock and there's no sign the teams on the ground will be slowing down. 

The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed more than 900 personnel to help with the disaster, most being based in the Hawke's Bay region. 

The commander overseeing the Defence Force's response, Colonel Mel Childs, said her team is highly skilled and proud to be helping those in need. 

"It has been particularly rewarding to see that we can offer help from air, from land and from sea, utilising all of our capabilities and specialist skills. We are a Force for New Zealand and I think the whole country has seen that over this past week," she said. 

Earlier this week, a crew on an NH90 helicopter delivered a military water treatment plant to flood-stricken Wairoa. 

The Hastings District Council is asking people not to donate goods any more, but to just make a financial donation to the Hawke's Bay Disaster Relief Trust. That account number is 02-0700-0010824-002.