New Zealand counts cost of Auckland floods, more rain forecast

WELLINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – More heavy rain is forecast in flood-ravaged Auckland in the coming days, officials in New Zealand’s largest city said on Monday, as insurers counted the costs. Which is possibly the most expensive season in the country. event ever.

Four people lost their lives in floods and landslides in Auckland during the past three days amid record rainfall. A state of emergency remains in place in Auckland. A state of emergency has been lifted in the Waitomo region, south of Auckland.

Flag carrier Air New Zealand ( AIR.NZ ) said on Monday that flights in and out of Auckland Airport were still experiencing delays and cancellations, with thousands of passengers still stranded, including hundreds from overseas. .

Beaches around the city of 1.6 million are closed and all Auckland schools will remain closed until February 7.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hopkins told state television station TVNZ on Monday that there was “huge damage all over Auckland.” “Obviously a lot of houses have been damaged by the flooding but also by extensive earth movement.”

He added that around 350 people needed emergency accommodation.

Rolling clouds

The country’s Met Service is predicting more heavy rain in the already sleepy city late Tuesday.

“We have more bad weather coming and we need to prepare for it,” Oakland Emergency Management duty controller Rachel Kelleher told a media conference.

Fire and emergency services received 30 calls Monday night, including a landslide response to a slide down a hill.

The council has declared 69 houses uninhabitable and barred people from entering them. A further 300 properties were deemed at risk, with access restricted to specific areas for a short period of time.

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La Niña weather is causing more rain than usual in the north of New Zealand’s North Island.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said Auckland had already recorded eight times its January average and 40 per cent of its annual average rainfall.

Insurers are facing a huge bill.

The clean-up bill for the West Coast floods in 2021 is expected to top NZ$97 million ($63 million) but will not be as expensive as the estimated NZ$31 billion insurance bill for two major earthquakes in Christchurch. Expenses incurred. 2010-2011, said Christian Judge, spokesman for the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

Insurance Australia Group’s ( IAG.AX ) New Zealand divisions have received more than 5,000 claims so far and Suncorp Group ( SUN.AX ) said it had received about 3,000 claims across its Vero and AA insurance brands. Tower of New Zealand ( TWR.NZ ) said it had received about 1,900 claims.

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“The number of claims is expected to increase further in the coming days, as the incident continues to unfold and customers report damage to their property,” IAG said in a statement.

Economists say the recovery and reconstruction could add to inflationary pressures in New Zealand as vehicles and household goods need to be replaced and flood-damaged homes and infrastructure need to be repaired or rebuilt. Construction works are increasing.

($1 = 1.5385 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Lucy Kramer; Editing of Aurora Alice and Lincoln Fest

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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