State of emergency declared in New Zealand’s largest city

A state of emergency was declared in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland on Friday when torrential rain caused widespread flooding and evacuations, closing the city’s airports and forcing organizers to cancel a planned Elton John concert.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown declared a state of emergency due to the extent of “damage, displacement and disruption” caused by the weather and the need for emergency services to use more powers.

Residents flee flooding in West Auckland.

Residents flee flooding in West Auckland.Credit:1News

Auckland Emergency Management said in a post on Twitter that the northern, north-west and western parts of the city were being hit by significant flooding, with conditions expected to worsen.

Advising residents in flood-prone areas to prepare for evacuation, the agency opened an evacuation center in West Auckland.

Videos on social media showed firefighters, police and defense forces using ropes and lifeboats to rescue stranded people from flooded homes. Details on how many people have been evacuated so far were not initially available.

Major roads were also blocked by the floods, resulting in long traffic jams on the highways. Police said they were working with Fire and Emergency New Zealand to respond to calls and asked people to stay off the streets if possible.

Some residents were told to leave and go to an evacuation center in west Auckland.

Some residents were told to leave and go to an evacuation center in west Auckland.Credit:1News

Auckland Airport closed both domestic and international airports due to widespread flooding. Pictures on social media showed the check-in area in the International Terminal knee-deep in flood water.

The concert by British musician Elton John in the city, for which around 40,000 people were expected, was cancelled.

“Due to the weather, tonight’s show has been cancelled. Our operations team is working to re-route special event buses to get people home,” Auckland Transport said in a statement on Twitter.

Reuters State of emergency declared in New Zealand’s largest city

Callan Tansill

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