The New Zealand government has announced additional funding of NZ$700,000 ($450,000) to help rebuild flood-ravaged Auckland and other areas in the upper north island, as residents of the country’s second-largest city begin cleaning up.
In the last week, Auckland and much of New Zealand’s upper North Island have experienced record rainfall, which authorities say has been partially exacerbated by climate change. Four people are reported to have died in flooding and landslides that left roads closed, cut off communities, and damaged homes, farms and businesses.
“The main thing that we have to do right now is to support people through this immediate period,” New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday. “Of course, the government will continue to look at how best we can support people whose lives have been turned upside down.”
The worst rain has passed from Auckland, although some showers are expected Thursday afternoon, according to weather provider MetService. However, rain warnings remain in place for the region southeast of Auckland.
“Rain falling onto the already sodden ground will pool faster and impacts/delays should be expected where heavy rain falls,” MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said.
People in the city of 1.6 million are being asked to stay out of the sea and floodwaters because of fears of contamination. Two hundred high-rise buildings don’t have lifts operating, causing challenges for residents. Evacuation centres remain open across the city.
Summers in New Zealand usually bring some rain, but the region is experiencing the La Nina weather system, which can bring much heavier rain to the upper North Island.
This story was adapted from Reuters.