Authorities in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, began mopping up on Saturday after torrential rains brought flash flooding and evacuations, with at least two people confirmed dead and two missing in the widespread inundation.
A state of emergency remained in place in the city of 1.6 million people on New Zealand’s north island as the rains eased after Friday’s flooding in the north, northwest and west. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, less than a week in office, flew by helicopter over the city before tour-ing flood-hit homes. “The level of devastation in some areas is con-siderable,” Hipkins told reporters, describing the event as “unprecedented” in recent memory.
Daylight revealed the impact of the storm, caused by warm air descending from the tropics, sparking heavy rain and thunderstorms, said Auckland Emer-gency Management, part of the city’s council.
“Auckland was clobbered on Friday — Auck-land’s wettest day on record — and today we start the clean-up,” the agency’s duty controller, Andrew Clark, said in a statement, urging caution for resi-dents returning home to survey flood damage.—APP