A state of emergency was declared in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday night, with rain and severe flooding hitting the country’s largest city, prompting residents in the worst-affected areas to evacuate their homes.
Heavy rains on Friday afternoon before the three-day weekend initially caused traffic jams, the abrupt cancellation of an Elton John concert, and drenched highways. But within hours, the mere inconvenience was replaced by a scene of frenzy and chaos across the city.
Torrents submerge parks and backyards, flooded cars are left on the side of the road, at least one bridge washed awayAuthorities said bodies had been found in the floods, but the cause of death was not immediately clear.Residents of Auckland, a city of 1.7 million people, suffered power outages, landslides and damage from damaged and flooded homes. I faced eviction.
About 240 millimeters (about 10 inches) of rain was expected by 9:30 pm local time, with more rain expected in the next few hours, according to MetService, the country’s weather service.
It wasn’t until nearly 10 p.m. that the city’s mayor, Wayne Brown, announced a local emergency at the request of other officials. The declaration will last him seven days and will allow local emergency services to access additional resources to deal with the situation.
“It will be a terrifying night for thousands of Aucklanders and their families,” Brown said at a news conference. “My thoughts are with the affected Aucklanders, including many who have been evacuated from their homes and are having a tough night.”
He dismissed criticism that the state of emergency was declared too late, saying his role was not to “run with a bucket.”
A heavy rain warning was issued for Part of upper North IslandIncludes the Coromandel Peninsula and the Waikato region.
“We had a summer of rain in about four or five hours,” said local councilor Richard Hills.
“There is considerable flooding and it is everywhere. I have never seen a highway closed,” he added. “Northern his busway was like a river with rapids, but unfortunately in the northwest quite a few homes were flooded and cars were floating. Pretty bad.”
Many of the places where authorities intended to send people to shelters were flooded, he added. “So we’ve been encouraging everyone to go to the family if possible.”
Auckland graphic designer Emma Kaniuk was among those caught in the deluge. After being unable to run, I was forced to get off and walk the suburbs of Greylin.
“At first it seemed like a normal rainy day. At 6pm, we were all laughing about it,” said Kaniuk, 38. “Then by 9:00 p.m., I was scared.”
On Karangahape Road, the main thoroughfare, workers attempted to flush water with squeegees and mops, causing water to spurt along roads and bike paths, and flow under windows and doorways into bars and restaurants, she said. said. “There are a lot of waterfalls of water running down hills, park sides, roads. “It happened really fast.”
Auckland Airport, the country’s largest, has closed amid flooding. Images of the airport shared on social media showed travelers trying to push suitcases and baggage trolleys through inches of water. Many flights have been rescheduled or canceled altogether, according to the airport’s website.
In a statement, Auckland police said they were “overwhelmed” by phone and urged people to seek help only if they were in a “life-threatening emergency.”
Auckland’s new prime minister, Chris Hipkins, said: “We are pleased to announce that a state of emergency has been declared due to flooding in Auckland tonight. said in a statement on friday night. “All relevant government agencies are doing everything in their power to assist in this extraordinary set of circumstances.”
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