After massive rains in the middle of the New Zealand summer, large parts of the largest city of Auckland are under water. The citizens of the metropolis on the North Island with 1.6 million inhabitants were asked by the civil defense to get to safety and to prepare for possible evacuations. The authorities declared a state of emergency for the region in the evening (local time). The National Research Institute NIWA said that in some areas of the city, 80 percent of the rainfall that is otherwise measured all summer fell within 15 hours. The suburbs of Kumeu and Albany were particularly hard hit.
"It is possible that parts of Auckland will experience as much rain in a single day as they otherwise would in an entire summer," NIWA tweeted. The fire brigade used kayaks and jet skis to rescue people from their homes. A scheduled Elton John concert at Mount Smart Stadium was canceled shortly before it was due to start due to safety concerns. 40,000 fans had to return home disappointed and soaked. Numerous roads were closed. Videos circulating on the Internet showed cars floating in the flood waters. Rescuers worked tirelessly to get people to safety. Eyewitnesses reported the worst flooding they had ever experienced.
There was a power outage in some urban areas of Auckland. Parts of the airport were also flooded. Passengers were asked not to come to the international terminal as the building was flooded. More rain was expected overnight. Green politician Golriz Ghahraman tweeted that the scenes that took place in the flooded areas were "terrifying" and emphasized: "This is what we will see again and again around the world because of the climate crisis until we see it in politics and take our actions seriously." Mayor Wayne Brown told Radio New Zealand: "The rain has to stop, that's the main problem."
The emergency services were literally inundated with calls for help. Civil protection called on people to stay at home and only use the emergency call if they were actually in mortal danger. New Zealand's new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Twitter that the authorities are working flat out to help the people. According to Mayor Wayne Brown, a body was found in a northern suburb of Auckland in the evening. However, it was initially unclear whether there was a connection with the floods. Brown announced a visit to the hardest-hit areas on Saturday to see for himself the extent of the damage.