The biggest city in New Zealand has declared a state of emergency following severe flooding and evacuations brought on by excessive rain.
The rain that fell in Auckland on Friday caused homes and businesses to move, slowed down traffic, and outages.
In just 15 hours, the city reportedly received 75% of its typical summer rainfall.
The national forecaster predicted that “the effects of the last 24 hours will be felt by many in Auckland for a long time.”
The body was discovered in Wairau Valley on Auckland’s North Shore, according to media reports, which were verified by Wayne Brown, the mayor of Auckland. Mr. Brown expressed his “great sadness” over the news. The death may or may not be related to the flooding, according to the police.
Additionally, he stated that the storm’s effects had “overwhelmed” infrastructure and emergency services. Fire and Emergency New Zealand said in a statement that it has been responding to about 1,500 calls for assistance.
Emergency shelters have been established throughout the city, and the New Zealand Defence Force is assisting with evacuations.
For anyone that doesn’t know New Zealand has been hit with the worst rain it’s ever had since 1985. The whole of the north island has flooded. Flash floods taking cars, homes and lives. A relative of mine being the unfortunate one to stumble upon the first dead body. pic.twitter.com/2AqEj6IIjy— Storm (@Storm_is_god) January 27, 2023
The mayor has responded to accusations that he took too long to declare a state of emergency by asserting that he did so in accordance with professional advice.
Green MP Ricardo Menendez March, who lives in Auckland, told the BBC that he had to flee after his neighborhood immediately began to flood but was provided shelter by a friend nearby.
Low-income areas, persons with disabilities, and immigrant communities, among others, “were regrettably not as fortunate,” he said.
Floods also cut up major roadways, which resulted in lengthy traffic jams on highways and a number of reported accidents.
Additionally, traffic to and from Auckland Airport was hampered by the water. International and domestic flights are currently halted until at least 5:00 on Sunday.
A 40,000-person Elton John performance was postponed just minutes before it was scheduled to begin. The weekend’s other public events have been postponed.
Online video showed rescuers using kayaks to carry out evacuations when people were caught in floodwater up to their waists.
In other images, food goods could be seen floating down the aisles of a number of flooded stores.
Chris Hipkins, the incoming leader of New Zealand, tweeted that the country’s parliament building in Wellington, known as the “Beehive Bunker,” is assisting in organizing the emergency response. On Saturday, Mr. Hipkins is anticipated to fly to Auckland.
According to the nation’s leading authority on climate science, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Friday was the wettest day on record for several Auckland sites. Several areas of the city are expected to experience heavy rain for at least the next five days.
We need to talk about how places like Auckland are drastically underprepared for these disasters and how climate change is making them more frequent, according to Mr. March.
The warming world is causing more extreme weather occurrences in New Zealand, according to study by NIWA, despite the fact that climate scientists have advised against attributing specific weather events to climate change.