WELLINGTON – Flood ravaged Auckland is expected to receive further heavy rain over the coming days, according to the city’s council, even as people start to count the cost of the flash floods that have hit New Zealand’s largest city since Friday.
Four people have now lost their lives in the flash floods that have hit Auckland since over the last three days and millions of dollars of damage has occurred. A state of emergency remains in place in Auckland and further south in regional Waitomo.
“There has been very significant damage across Auckland,” New Zealand new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told state-owned television station TVNZ Monday.
“I had the opportunity to view that first hand on Saturday and obviously (there were) a number of homes damaged by flooding but also extensive earth movements,” he said.
He said at the moment, 350 people were in need of emergency accommodation.
The city has experience record levels of rainfall since Friday. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said in a tweet that Auckland has now recorded more than eight times its average January rainfall and 40% of its annual average rainfall.
Metservice has issued an updated Heavy Rain Warning for Auckland and Great Barrier Island for 12 hours from Jan. 31 at 6pm (0700 GMT).
Auckland Council said if rain continues at this pace there will be further flooding and landslides are expected.
Fire and Emergency Service received 30 call outs in the previous 12 hours, including responding to a landslide when a carport slid down a hill. The council so far have deemed 40 houses unlivable and have prevented people from entering them and put yellow stickers – meaning people can only enter certain areas and for short periods – a further 151 properties.
Insurance Australia Group’s IAG.AX New Zealand divisions have received over 5,000 claims so far and Suncorp Group SUN.AX said it received around 3,000 claims across the Vero and AA Insurance Brands.
“The number of claims is expected to rise further over the coming days, with the event still unfolding and as customers identify damage to their property,” IAG said in a statement.—Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Aurora Ellis