Auckland flooding: death toll rises as New Zealand hit with more heavy rain and landslides | New Zealand
Torrential rains continued to hit New Zealand’s north island, causing landslides, flash floods and hitting roads, with the death toll rising to four after the missing person was confirmed dead.
Rain-affected since Friday, Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city of 1.6 million, remained in a state of emergency on Sunday. MetService National Forecaster warned of more severe weather Sunday and Monday for the northern island. Heavy rains can also cause surface and flash floods, he said.
Since then, the focus of the emergency has shifted south, with the Waitomo area, about 220 kilometers from Auckland, declaring a state of emergency late Saturday night.
Police have confirmed that a man who went missing after being swept away on Friday in Onevero, a rural village about 70km south of Auckland, has died.
“The worst thing about this is that we have lost lives,” Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni told reporters in Auckland.
Climate change is causing heavy rainfall episodes to become more frequent and intense in New Zealand, although their impact varies by region. Climate Change Minister James Shaw noted the link to climate change on Saturday when he tweeted his support for flood victims.
On Sunday, police said they were assisting with traffic management and road closures in the region after heavy rains “caused numerous landslides, floods and road damage.”
The nearby Bay of Plenty also experienced “massive flooding” as well as a landslide that destroyed a home and threatened neighboring properties, police said.
Authorities said on Sunday that thousands of homes were left without electricity and hundreds were left without water.
But Air New Zealand said the airline’s international flights to and from Auckland would resume from Sunday afternoon (2300 GMT on Saturday).
On Saturday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who has been in office for less than a week, flew a helicopter over Auckland before touring flood-hit homes. He called the flood’s impact on the city “unprecedented” in recent times.