world
Friday Aug 19 2022
By
Reuters

Torrential rain causes havoc in New Zealand, hundreds forced from homes

By
Reuters
This handout picture taken on August 17, 2022, by local media outlet Andrew App and released on August 18 shows a flood-inundated car and homes from the overflowing Maitai River in central Nelson on New Zealands South Island. — AFP
This handout picture taken on August 17, 2022, by local media outlet Andrew App and released on August 18 shows a flood-inundated car and homes from the overflowing Maitai River in central Nelson on New Zealand's South Island. — AFP

  • Torrential rain hit parts of New Zealand for the fourth day.
  • "I think we are years away from a recovery," official says.
  • A heavy rain warning remains in place until Friday midnight.


WELLINGTON: Torrential rain hit parts of New Zealand for a fourth day on Friday, forcing hundreds of people from their homes as rivers overflowed their banks and the waterlogged ground becomes unstable.

Nelson, on the north coast of the South Island, has been worst affected with more than 400 homes evacuated and some declared uninhabitable because of the rains.

"The damage I saw in Nelson was heartbreaking and I think we are years away from a recovery," Alec Louverdis, group controller for Nelson Tasman Civil Defence, told a news conference.

"As we were driving there were slips everywhere," he said, referring to landslides.

Weather forecaster Metservice said Nelson had had 172 mm (6.8 inches) of rain since Tuesday, which is more than double its average August rainfall. Another 190 mm is expected to fall in the hills near Nelson over the next day.

A man looks at a damaged tree beside the Maitai river in Nelson on August 18, 2022. — AFP
A man looks at a damaged tree beside the Maitai river in Nelson on August 18, 2022. — AFP

Nelson residents are being told to save water because of problems with the city's water system.

The civil defence service is also warning people to stay away from the coast because of a 3-metre (9.8 feet) surf on some beaches.

The New Zealand Defence Force has personnel helping with evacuations and flood prevention work.

Coming after weeks of wet weather, the latest rainstorms are dumping more water on New Zealand's already sodden landscape. Experts have attributed the unseasonably wet weather to a narrow stream of water vapour, or an "atmospheric river", above the country.

Heavy rains have also hit New Zealand's North Island over the past 24 hours with some towns cut off, roads and houses under water and people being evacuated.

Debris is seen left strewn on a street in Nelson on August 18, 2022, after the city experienced flash floods caused by a storm. Hundreds of families on New Zealands South Island were forced to leave their homes on August 18 after flooding caused a state of emergency to be declared in three regions. — AFP
Debris is seen left strewn on a street in Nelson on August 18, 2022, after the city experienced flash floods caused by a storm. Hundreds of families on New Zealand's South Island were forced to leave their homes on August 18 after flooding caused a state of emergency to be declared in three regions. — AFP

Civil Defence Northland said in a Facebook post that some flooding was expected to ease as the tide falls later on Friday but some roads remain cut off.

A heavy rain warning remains in place until midnight on Friday.