WELLINGTON: New Zealand police said Sunday a fourth body was found after deadly record torrential rain and flooding devastated Auckland.
The country’s largest city saw 249 millimetres of rainfall on Friday, smashing the previous record of 161mm in a 24-hour period, and Auckland’s 1.6 million residents remain under a state of emergency.
Two bodies were found in floodwater at separate locations Friday night in the northern suburb of Wairau Valley, and a third was discovered Saturday after a landslide brought down a home in central Auckland.
On Sunday a drone operator discovered the body of a man about a kilometre from where he was swept away Friday at Onewhero, south of Auckland.
“The flooding situation has been a traumatic experience for everyone in Auckland,” New Zealand’s deputy prime minister Carmel Sepuloni said at a press conference in the city Sunday.
“The most horrific part of it has been that we have lost lives… we share our condolences and sadness with that person’s family,” she added when asked about the Onewhero death.
At the peak of the flooding Friday, around 24,000 homes were without power, according to transport minister Michael Wood, speaking alongside Sepuloni – who is also a member of parliament for the West Auckland suburb Kelston.
She said that by Sunday around 3,000 homes are still without electricity, and a number of homes are without water, including hers. She added that companies are working to reinstate electricity and water.
Friday’s torrential rain also flooded terminals at Auckland airport, which had to be closed before international flights could resume Sunday.
Sir Elton John was forced to cancel concerts in Auckland Friday and Saturday – part of his farewell tour – due to crowd safety.