Home News 3 dead, state of emergency in New Zealand’s largest city after record rainfall

3 dead, state of emergency in New Zealand’s largest city after record rainfall

by admin

Three people have died and at least one is missing after record levels of rain in New Zealand’s largest city caused widespread unrest, authorities said Saturday.

Prime Minister Chris Hopkins traveled to Auckland on a military plane after declaring a state of emergency in the region.

“Our priority is ensuring that Oaklanders are safe, housed, and have access to the basic services they need,” Hipkins said.

He said the city was doing a major cleanup and people should stay home if possible. He said the darkening in the weather could be temporary with more torrential rain expected.

“This is an unprecedented event in recent memory,” Hipkins said.

Rainiest day ever

Friday was the wettest day on record in Auckland, according to the weather agencies, with more rain than normally falls throughout the summer in one day. On Friday evening, more than 150 mm of rain fell in just three hours in some places.

Police said they found the body of a man in a flooded well and another body in a flooded parking lot. They added that firefighters and emergency crews found a third body after a landslide caused a house to fall in the suburb of Remoira.

Police said one person was still missing after being swept away by the floodwaters.

People cross a flooded street in Auckland on Friday. (Dean Purcell / New Zealand Herald / Associated Press)

Most places have had electricity restored, Hipkins said, though about 3,500 homes remain without power.

A video posted online showed deep water tanks in some places.

The rains closed highways and flooded homes. Hundreds of people were stranded at Auckland Airport overnight after the airport grounded all flights and parts of the terminal were flooded.

A landslide caused by flood waters destroyed a home in Auckland on Saturday. (Hayden Woodward / New Zealand Herald / Associated Press)

“Unfortunately, due to previous flooding in the baggage hall, we are currently unable to return checked baggage to you,” the airport said on Twitter. “Your airline will make arrangements for his return at a later date.”

Air New Zealand said its domestic flights to and from Auckland had resumed from noon on Friday and international flights from Auckland would resume at noon on Sunday. International access is expected to resume at 4:30 a.m. local time on Sunday.

Air New Zealand said 12 of its international flights to Auckland were diverted overnight.

A man in a flight helmet sits on a chair with his hands clasped.  The seat next to him is empty.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hopkins sits on a military plane Saturday, heading to Auckland to assess damage from rain and flooding. (Ryan Benton / Associated Press)

“The flooding has had a significant impact on our operations in Auckland,” said David Morgan, the company’s president of operational safety and security. “We are working to get customers to their final destinations and get our crew and aircraft back to the right place. It may take a few days to get everything back on track.”

Legislator Ricardo Menendez released a video of water flowing into homes. “We just had to evacuate our house because the water was already rising and flowing,” he wrote on Twitter.

2000 emergency calls

Fire and Emergency New Zealand said its teams had responded to more than 700 incidents in the area and staff had received more than 2,000 emergency calls.

“We had every employee and volunteer on the road responding to the most serious events,” said District Administrator Brad Mosby.

Mosby said crews have rescued 126 people trapped in homes or cars or involved in car accidents.

Elton John’s concert has been cancelled

The storm also caused the cancellation of Elton John’s concert before it began on Friday evening. Another concert by John that was scheduled to take place at the stadium on Saturday night was also cancelled.

About 40,000 people were expected to attend each concert at Mt Smart Stadium. Thousands of people were already in on Friday evening when organizers decided to cancel shortly before John took to the stage at 7.30pm.

Many spectators faced the circumstances with frustration that the decision had not been made hours earlier.

Oakland Mayor Wayne Brown defended criticism that his office failed to communicate the gravity of the situation well and delayed declaring a state of emergency until about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

He said that the timing of the emergency declaration is guided by experts.

“We’ll go over everything that happened,” Brown said. We must make sure that the coordination and consultation with the public is correct. »

Related News

Leave a Comment