New Zealand calculates cost of Auckland floods, forecasts more rain

WELLINGTON — Flood-ravaged Auckland is expected to experience more heavy rain in the next few days, officials in New Zealand’s largest city said on Monday.

Four people have been killed in flash floods and landslides that have hit Auckland amid record rainfall over the past three days. Auckland is in a state of emergency. The state of emergency has been lifted for the Waitomo region south of Auckland.

Flag carrier Air New Zealand said on Monday that thousands of passengers, including hundreds from overseas, were stranded, with flights to and from Auckland airport still experiencing delays and cancellations.

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

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told state broadcaster TVNZ on Monday that “the damage across Auckland has been enormous”. “Obviously, many homes were damaged not just by floods, but by massive earth movements.”

About 350 people are in need of emergency accommodation, he added.

looming clouds

The national weather service is forecasting more heavy rain to hit the already drenched city late Tuesday.

“More bad weather is expected and we need to be prepared for that,” Rachel Kelleher, Auckland’s emergency management chief, said at a news conference.

Fire and emergency services received 30 calls Monday night, including in response to a landslide when a carport slid down a hill.

Congress has designated 69 homes as uninhabitable and off-limits. An additional 300 facilities were deemed at risk, and access to certain areas was restricted for a short period of time.

A La Niña event is bringing more rain than usual to the northern North Island of New Zealand.

According to the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research (NIWA), Auckland has already recorded more than eight times the average January rainfall and 40% of the annual average rainfall.

Insurance companies face large claims

Decontamination costs are expected to exceed the NZ$97m ($63m) flood bill on the west coast in 2021, while the estimated NZ$31bn for the two major Christchurch earthquakes is not as high as the insurance cost of 2010-2011 New Zealand Insurance Council spokesperson Christian Judge said:

Insurance Australia Group’s New Zealand arm has received more than 5,000 claims to date, and Suncorp Group says it has received around 3,000 claims across its Vero and AA insurance brands. Towers of New Zealand said it had received about 1,900 claims.

In a statement, IAG said: “We expect a further increase in the number of claims in the coming days as the case is still ongoing and customers identify damage to their property.

Economists say vehicles and household items will need to be replaced, and recovery and reconstruction will increase inflationary pressures in New Zealand as more construction work is needed to repair or rebuild flood-damaged homes and infrastructure. said it is possible.

($1 = 1.5385 New Zealand Dollar)

Lucy Kramer