Cyclone Gabrielle: Pregnant mother confirms 2yo daughter killed when family home flooded in Eskdale, Hawke's Bay

A two-year-old girl died after she was swept away by the deluge in Eskdale, Hawke's Bay, her mother has confirmed. 

The toddler, named Ivy, is among six people to be confirmed dead in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Ivy's mother Ella, who is currently pregnant, shared in an update to Facebook her daughter had died in the flooding that "completely destroyed" their family home in the rural Hastings town. 

"It was an unavoidable accident and she died very quickly," she wrote. 

"Our home, our section and all our belongings have been completely destroyed, the water was about 10 cm from the ceiling in our house and rose extremely quickly and violently.

"We were unable to make it to higher ground due to a sudden torrent of water, which almost drowned us all and took Ivy.

"We are all going to need all the love we can get."

Search and Rescue discovered the child's body and she is now with the coroner, Ella said, noting the family is now "safe and warm" with her husband's relatives in Wellington. 

"Our dogs and two of our cats are OK. We are being well looked after, both by our families and by our community. 

"I know many are still without communications and may not see this but PLEASE, if you see a way you can help someone near you that is struggling just reach out to them - this tragedy has affected so many people and we all need support right now (and sometimes all it takes to warm a soul is a friendly conversation). So please connect if you can, help if you can, and ask for help if you need it."

She added her husband Jack's efforts are "the only reason" the couple, their oldest daughter Imogen, and their neighbours survived the deluge, calling him a "literal f**king hero". 

A Givealittle has been established by a friend to help support the family, which at the time of writing has raised almost $40,000.

"No words can say how saddened we feel about the loss of your beautiful little 2-year-old Ivy, who was ripped from your family in the recent cyclone in NZ," the fundraiser reads. 

"In the space of 5 mins, you lost so much, beautiful Ivy, your house, your land and your belongings.

"With losing one of your family, your home, Jack's income, I imagine a whole lot more than we can even think of, we are opening up this page to help out.

"Hugs, love and thoughts to you all, and please donate big or small, it will all mean the world to them… such giving people who now deserve our help."

Ella is currently pregnant and the baby is due to arrive in August. The family plans to hold a small funeral for Ivy in Napier next week.

It's feared the death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle could continue to rise over the coming days, with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warning in a press conference on Thursday that people "need to prepare for the likelihood there will be more fatalities".

A second volunteer firefighter, Craig Stevens, died after being rescued from a collapsed house in Muriwai earlier this week. Stevens was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but succumbed to his injuries on Thursday. He and another firefighter, Dave van Zwanenberg, became trapped in a slip while investigating flooding at a house on Motutara Rd. Van Zwanenberg was also killed.