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New Zealand prepares for cyclone Gabrielle

Preparations are underway in New Zealand for a severe storm that threatens to hit parts of the country already damaged by deadly flooding.

Cyclone Gabrielle is expected to hit the country’s North Island from Saturday night – potentially bringing strong winds and further heavy rain.

Residents have been told to ensure they have enough supplies to last three days in case they are trapped at home.

The storm comes weeks after torrential rain inundated the city of Auckland.

BBC says tens of thousands of sandbags have been distributed there due to concerns the sodden ground and weakened infrastructure have made homes more vulnerable to flooding.

Evacuation shelters have been set up once again and Air New Zealand, the national carrier, has cancelled several domestic flights ahead of the cyclone’s arrival.

Writing by Chinasa Ossai; editing by Julian Osamoto