The death toll in New Zealand from heavy rain has risen to four as flash flooding and mudslides on the North Island continued for a third day. New Zealand authorities declared a state of emergency on Friday in the country’s largest city, Auckland, after flooding brought torrential rains to the country.
“This statement reflects the extent of the damage, displacement and disruption caused by tonight’s severe weather event and allows emergency services and response agencies to use resources and enact additional powers to help affected Aucklanders,” said Mayor Wayne Brown.
Affecting all of its 1.6 million residents, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and has been battered by rain since Friday. Police stated that they were assisting with traffic control and road closures in that area due to “many landslides, flooding and road damage” caused by heavy rain. Due to the flooding, there were more than 2,000 cries for help and 70 evacuations in and around Auckland.
What is the situation in Auckland?
The nation’s meteorologist, MetService, warned of more severe weather for today and tomorrow on the North Island. Heavy rains could also cause shallow and flash flooding.
MetService, the national weather authority, said up to 10 inches (250 millimeters) of rain had fallen throughout the day on Friday, with more expected overnight into Saturday.
Roads have been flooded, causing major traffic disruptions, and several terminals at the city’s airport, which is New Zealand’s largest, have been ankle-deep in water.
The emergency covers large swaths of the North Island, with the Waitomo district some 220 km from Auckland, which declared a state of emergency last night.
Likewise, there are reports of landslides and flooding, and both the infrastructure and emergency services have been overwhelmed by the impacts of the storm, said a note issued by the Auckland Council.
Meanwhile, the local airport was also flooded, with water reaching up to the knees in some areas of those in it.
MetService says a slowly moving low is expected to remain in the northwestern upper North Island until Tuesday before beginning to move south.
Heavy rain warnings are in effect for Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula until Monday, with local downpours of 25 to 40mm/hr possible in some areas, the meteorologist said. There are also severe thunderstorms for Northland and Auckland until 10 am Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister: “We have our backs covered”
Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni said on Sunday afternoon that it was “incredibly moving” to see how Aucklanders had helped each other since the unprecedented weather on Friday.
“We support each other. It is so incredibly moving to see the giant community firsthand,” she said.
The agencies carried out individual housing assessments, with a view to supporting the most vulnerable in Auckland, she added.
“I really want to reiterate that there is support and shelter for people and whānau who need it.” She encouraged those who needed help to call the support line of the Ministry of Social Development on 0800 400 100.
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