A storm hits New Zealand, leaving nearly 100,000 people without power

A storm hits New Zealand, leaving nearly 100,000 people without power

More rain and strong winds are expected on Tuesday, Kieran McNulty said, which will complicate relief operations. “Emergency services are working day and night, but the unstable terrain, flood waters and closed roads make matters worse,” Kieran McNulty said.

damaged infrastructure

Winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour hit northern New Zealand, while the Auckland Port Bridge shook with winds of 110 kilometers per hour.

A damaged road on the outskirts of Auckland, Monday 13 February. — © Diego Opatowski/AFP

The tornado has already uprooted trees, damaged roads and downed power lines. “We are facing widespread floods, landslides, damaged roads and other infrastructure,” the minister added. Thus, some residents found themselves completely isolated. According to local media, people were forced to swim from their homes in search of safety.

New Zealand Fire and Rescue Services said one firefighter is missing and the other is in a critical condition after a house collapsed in West Auckland.

Transportation has been disrupted

Nearly 100,000 people in the North Island were without power, and officials warned it could take several days to restore the grid. “As long as the weather conditions remain this harsh, it will be dangerous to work on the network,” Kieran McNulty said.

Auckland, the country’s largest city (population 1.6 million), is barely recovering from flash floods that killed four people and forced thousands from their homes last month.

The weather also disrupted New Zealand’s transport network, with flight, train and bus schedules severely affected.

The storm caused damage in the north of the country.  — © Diego Opatowski/AFP
The storm caused damage in the north of the country. — © Diego Opatowski/AFP

Air New Zealand said the cyclone grounded and disrupted flights for about 35,000 of its international customers, with 592 flights cancelled. New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hepkins, who is based in Wellington, was among the few thousand people stranded in Auckland (North), after flights were canceled due to the storm.

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Chris Hepkins promised NZ$11.5 million (€6.8 million) in aid to help with the repairs.

New Zealand has entered an era of “cascading” natural disasters, which see the consequences of repeated extreme weather events build up over time, according to Christine Kenny, a disaster risk reduction specialist at Massey University.

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