This is live coverage of the developing situation in Auckland. We will continue to update this with photos and information as it comes to hand.
After a day of torrential rain, and new reports of at least one death in the flood water, a state of emergency has been declared in Auckland.
That’s come directly from the city’s deputy mayor Desley Simpson, who told Today FM that the emergency situation had been declared after “terrible damage” around the city. “My understanding is every fire truck is out helping… everyone is out helping on the ground,” she said.
The decision to formally declare a state of emergency came moments after opposition leader Christopher Luxon sent a tweet “urging” the city’s mayor Wayne Brown to ramp up the emergency response. “High tide hits after midnight and we need a list of evacuation centres for folk to head to,” he said.
Speaking to Today FM, Luxon said emergency services on the ground needed to be able to do their jobs – and a state of emergency aided that. “It’s important it’s been called and now we’ve got to focus on the people,” he said. The state of emergency should have been called “much quicker”, said Luxon, and there would be a time to review communications. “For now, we need to focus on the people and making sure they get the support they need.”
Mayor Brown himself has remained largely silent throughout today’s events, however he did speak to RNZ earlier where he said: “we need the rain to stop, that’s the main issue”. A photo was later released showing him in his office.
Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick said she has spoken to the mayor. “There will be a time to thoroughly assess the lack of preparedness, systems and communications here,” she added.
The state of emergency was prompted by major flooding across the city, with reports of supermarkets partially submerged. The international airport departure hall has been entirely flood – picture below – and has now closed. Photos are being widely shared on social media showing the extent of the flooding.
Earlier this evening, Elton John’s Auckland concert was canned at the last minute after thousands of people converged on Mount Smart Stadium (many by car and or foot). “Auckland, due to unsafe weather conditions, tonight’s Elton John concert for Friday 27 January will not be proceeding. The team is assessing things and will keep everyone across with further updates here. Thank you for your understanding,” said Frontier Touring on Facebook.
In a statement, Auckland emergency management’s duty controller Andrew Clark said that the city had experienced a “summer’s worth” of rain in a few hours. “We continue to urge people to be vigilant and keep an eye on the weather forecast and your property,” he said.
“If it is safe to stay home, please do so. If you need to evacuate and can stay with family and friends, please do so in the first instance.”
A Civil Defence centre has been established in Kelston. “Please remember to never drive through floodwaters. If you do need to evacuate, please take essential items, like medicines, with you.”
More to come.