Disasters & Accidents

3 die due to record-breaking rainfall in New Zealand

Sydney, Australia, Jan 28 (EFE).- At least three people have died while one was missing due to heavy rains and floods in New Zealand’s Auckland, authorities said on Saturday.

“There are three confirmed fatalities and at least one person is missing as a result of the weather,” New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it changed the trajectory. If you can, stay where you are and avoid unnecessary travel. It is safer to be inside than out at the moment,” said Hipkins, who took office on Wednesday from Jacinda Ardern.

He warned that more rain was forecast as water levels rose quickly in Auckland. “We are anticipating further bad weather.”

Hipkins said it was the time to check in with loved ones and “take care of each other.”

The new prime minister assessed flood damage and spoke to locals during his tour around West Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown and Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty joined Hipkins in Auckland.

The prime minister said the government would allocate NZ$100,000 (about $65,000) to support Aucklanders through the disaster event and provide the resources to get the city back up and running in the safest way possible.

Torrential storms hitting Auckland have forced the closure of various highways and the airport, with dozens of flights canceled.

Emergency services have responded to more than 2,000 calls for help, including from people trapped in buildings and cars.

Mayor Brown said the last night was a “tough night for all.”

The Auckland emergency department said Friday was the rainiest day ever recorded in the city of about 1.5 million residents.

Andrew Clark, the emergency department head, said the weather event was “beyond anything we have ever seen.”

Clark said the priority was to rescue people who might be in danger and provide shelter for an unspecified number of homeless.

Videos on social networks showed floods streets, supermarkets, and an inundated airport terminal.

The emergency led to the cancellation of a musical event by singer Elton John. EFE


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