2 dead, 2 missing as rain pounds Auckland, New Zealand
Police said Saturday that two people had died and two were missing as torrential rain and flooding continued to cause widespread disruption to Auckland, New Zealand.
Authorities declared a state of emergency for the region, and new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins flew to the city on a military plane to assess the damage. Hipkins was sworn in Wednesday after Jacinda Ardern resigned.
Hipkins said the rain had hit the nation’s largest city quickly.
“Aucklanders need to brace for the fact there could be more rain,” he said.
Earlier, hundreds of people were stranded at Auckland Airport overnight after all flights were halted and parts of the terminal were flooded.
Police said they found a man’s body Friday evening in a flooded culvert and another early Saturday in a flooded parking lot. They were investigating both deaths.
A third man was reported missing after being swept away by floodwaters, and a fourth person remained unaccounted for after a landslide brought down a house in the suburb of Remuera, police said.
Video posted online showed waist-deep water in places. Lawmaker Ricardo Menéndez posted a video of water surging into houses.
“We’ve just had to evacuate our home as the water was already rising rapidly and coming in aggressively,” he tweeted.
Weather agency MetService warned of flash flooding and hazardous driving conditions. On Friday night, transport authorities closed parts of State Highway 1, the main highway that bisects Auckland.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand said it had responded to more than 700 incidents and taken more than 2,000 calls for help.
Concerts by Elton John that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights at Mt. Smart Stadium were canceled. About 40,000 people were expected to attend each night. Thousands were already at the venue Friday when organizers decided to cancel not long before John was due to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Frontier Touring, one of the promoters, tweeted that the concert had been canceled due to unsafe weather conditions.
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