2 dead, 2 missing as rain drenches New Zealand’s biggest city

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Police said Saturday that two people were dead and two others were missing as heavy rain and flooding continued to cause widespread disruption in New Zealand’s largest city.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in the Auckland region and the nation’s new prime minister, Chris Hipkins, flew to the city in a military plane to assess the damage. Hipkins was took an oath in the highest post on Wednesday since Jacinda Ardern resigned.

Hipkins said the rain hit the city quickly. “Aucklanders should prepare for the fact that there could be more rain,” he said.

Earlier, hundreds of people were stranded at Oakland airport overnight after the airport grounded all flights and parts of the terminal were flooded.

Police said they found the body of one man Friday night in a flooded culvert and the body of another man early Saturday in a flooded parking lot, and are continuing to investigate both cases.

Police said a third man was reported missing after being swept away by floodwaters, while a fourth person remained unaccounted for after a landslide toppled a house in the suburb of Remuera.

A video posted online showed chest-high water in some places.

Deputy Ricardo Menendez posted a video of water flooding into houses. “We just had to evacuate our home as the water was already rising rapidly and coming in aggressively,” he tweeted.

The New Zealand Fire and Emergency Service said crews responded to more than 700 incidents in the region and staff responded to more than 2,000 emergency calls.

“We had every available career and volunteer crew on the road responding to the most serious incidents,” said District Manager Brad Mosby.

Mosby said crews rescued 126 people who were stranded in homes or cars or involved in crashes.

Air New Zealand said it had resumed domestic flights to and from Auckland on Saturday afternoon, but it was not yet certain when international flights would resume.

“The flooding has had a huge impact on our Auckland operations,” said David Morgan, the airline’s chief operational integrity and safety officer. “We are working to get customers to their final destination and get our crew and aircraft back to the right place.” It may take a few days to get everything back.”

In a series of Twitter updates, Auckland Airport said people were able to leave the airport early on Saturday for their homes or accommodation after hundreds spent the night in the terminal.

“It’s been a long and challenging night at Oakland Airport, we thank everyone for their continued patience,” the airport wrote.

“Unfortunately, due to earlier flooding in the baggage hall, we are currently unable to return your checked baggage,” the airport wrote. “Your airline will arrange his return later.”

On Friday, the airport said it was reducing operations on its runway after an incoming plane damaged runway lighting.

The storm also caused the cancellation of an Elton John concert just before it began Friday night. John’s second concert, which was planned at the stadium on Saturday night, was also cancelled.

Around 40,000 people were expected to attend each concert at Mt Smart Stadium. Thousands were already at the venue on Friday night when organizers decided to cancel shortly before John took to the stage at 7.30pm

The concert was billed as the final farewell tour for John. Frontier Touring, one of the organizers of the concert, tweeted that the concert had been canceled due to hazardous weather conditions.

Many concertgoers, who had bravely put up with the conditions, were disappointed that the decision had not been made hours earlier.

The MetService has warned of flash flooding and dangerous driving conditions. On Friday evening, transportation authorities closed parts of State Highway 1, the main highway that bisects Oakland.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown told Radio New Zealand: “We need the rain to stop. That is the main problem.”

#dead #missing #rain #drenches #Zealands #biggest #city

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button