Thu, 30 Mar 2023

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Mayor of New Zealand's largest city Auckland Wayne Brown warned "more dangerous" severe weather is ahead after heavy rainfalls and floods have claimed four people's lives since Friday.

"The worst was not behind Auckland, with more heavy rain expected," Brown told media at a community center on Monday, adding the ground was so saturated and the drains so full that "it could be more dangerous than even Friday" when Auckland declared a state of emergency amid severe flooding.

All schools and childcare centers in Auckland remain closed until Feb. 7, according to the Ministry of Education.

Brown said he has asked the military's help with things like sandbagging if needed. The city will later have "the big Auckland clean-up" to remove storm waste.

"We're all in this together", said the mayor, calling on people to stay at home, stay away from floodwaters and follow the directions of emergency services.

Severe damage had occurred in all parts of the region. The downfall was bigger than anything in Auckland's history, Brown said, adding he was inspired by the "community spirit and heroism" of emergency services.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the severe weather was a climate change.

About 40 homes have been red-stickered, and around 5,000 more have been damaged after a record-smashing deluge across the upper North Island.

Experts believe health hazards such as mould and contamination could be waiting for residents returning to their waterlogged homes.

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