Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

New Zealand city declares emergency after torrential rain

New Zealand's largest city has declared a state of emergency after torrential rain prompted widespread flooding and evacuations.

Friday's downpour in Auckland shifted houses, stalled traffic and cut power to homes and businesses.

The city is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

"The impacts of the last 24 hours will be felt by many in Auckland for a long time," said the national forecaster.

Auckland's mayor, Wayne Brown, has confirmed media reports that a body had been found in Wairau Valley on Auckland's North Shore. Mr Brown has said he is "deeply saddened" by the news. Police have not confirmed whether the death is linked to the flooding.

He has also said infrastructure and emergency services had been "overwhelmed" by the impacts of the storm. In a statement, Fire and Emergency New Zealand said it had been dealing with roughly 1,500 calls for assistance.

The New Zealand Defence Force is helping with evacuations and emergency shelters have been set up across the city.