New Zealand Floods 8 Killed Leaving Thousands Displaced
The death toll stands at eight, including two firefighters and a two-year-old child. This is in addition to four deaths in earlier flooding, mainly in Auckland. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told the media on Thursday afternoon, “we do need to prepare for the likelihood that there will be more fatalities.”
The worst-hit regions are the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne/Tairawhiti on the East Coast, an area with about 234,000 people. Parts of Auckland, the country’s biggest city, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, the Coromandel, Taupo, Tararua and Wairarapa have also suffered serious flooding and landslides.
An estimated 10,500 people have been made homeless, including 9,000 in Hawke’s Bay, but the real number is probably far higher. Dozens of communities remain geographically cut off, with little or no communications. There are now 62,000 houses without power and more than 4,500 people have been reported to police as uncontactable.
Wairoa, population 9,000, was finally accessed yesterday by road. Newshub reported that the town is “under a sea of mud… street after street, home after home smothered in deep silt after the river burst its banks and swept through town.” Residents confronted “loss on an unimaginable scale.”