State of local emergency in Auckland following heavy rainfall and flooding, New Zealand

State of emergency declared in Auckland after severe floods and landslides, New Zealand

A state of local emergency was declared by Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown on May 9, 2023, due to severe floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. The MetService reported rain rates of 40 – 50 mm (1.6 – 1.9 inches) per hour in certain areas of Auckland, leading to significant disruption and causing over 200 weather-related emergency calls.

Following an onslaught of torrential rainfall, Auckland is grappling with severe flooding and landslides. On May 9, 2023, Mayor Wayne Brown declared a state of local emergency, citing the intensity of the weather and the lessons learned from previous floods.

New Zealand’s MetService reported rain rates of 40 -50 mm (1.6 – 1.9 inches) per hour in areas of Auckland, leading to substantial disruption and over 277 weather-related calls to Fire and Emergency. This included 19 calls in Northland and 258 calls in Auckland. Approximately 100 of these incidents were deemed serious, with responses required for landslides, fallen trees, and vehicles trapped in the floodwaters.

Travel has been heavily impacted, with multiple car accidents reported on Auckland’s motorway network. Extensive flooding of State Highway 1 (SH1) has further disrupted traffic flow. In response, Civil Defence in Northland stated that the Kaipara District Council had set up shelters for travelers stranded along SH1 between Auckland and Kaipara District.

Evacuation shelters were also opened in Massey and Albany by the Civil Defence in Auckland, providing aid for individuals forced to leave their homes due to the severe weather conditions.

Furthermore, there were reports of a student who went missing during a school trip to a caving site in Whangārei. It was unclear if this incident was directly related to the adverse weather.

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Mayor Wayne Brown, who is currently in Sydney for council business, has delegated his responsibilities and powers to Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson. Mayor Brown urged the public to take the situation seriously despite the assurance that emergency services were currently managing the volume of calls. He stated, “It is necessary to communicate to the public that this is something to take seriously.”

At around 12:00 LT, a region-wide emergency mobile alert was issued with the approval of the Mayor by Auckland Emergency Management. Mayor Brown also urged Auckland residents to stay clear of floodwaters and open drains, emphasizing the importance of following official advice from Auckland Emergency Management and Auckland Transport.

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References:

1 Mayor declares local state of emergency – Auckland Council – May 9, 2023

2 New Zealand – More Floods in Auckland After 50mm of Rain in 1 Hour – FloodList – May 9, 2023

Featured image credit: 1News (stillshot)

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