King Charles issues heartfelt tribute to New Zealand following Auckland floods
The King has sent a message of condolence to people affected by the catastrophic flooding in New Zealand.
Flood waters have swept through streets and down highways in Auckland, killing four people and damaging thousands of homes in what has been called New Zealand’s “biggest non-earthquake event”.
Charles, who is King of New Zealand, wrote: “It is with the deepest concern that I have been following news of the flooding and severe weather affecting several regions in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
He added: “My wife and I send our heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives, and our thoughts are with the many others whose lives have been so terribly impacted by events.
“I have long admired the strength and resourcefulness of New Zealanders, and I send my thoughts and prayers to all those who are supporting response and recovery efforts to help people repair or restore homes, businesses and lives.”
He ended with the Maori phrase: “Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui. Be strong, be brave, be steadfast.”
Rain over the 24 hours to early Wednesday caused more surface flooding in the city of 1.6 million people and forced the closure of several roads and rail lines.
Sodden ground was causing risks particularly from landslides.
Rachel Kelleher, Auckland emergency management deputy controller, said the likelihood of more flooding was lower but the water-logged ground meant danger from landslides and falling trees.
"This has been an unprecedented event," she said.
People in the city are being asked to stay out of the sea and flood waters because of fears of contamination but all Auckland schools, which had been told to close until February 7 can now open if they have not been impacted by flooding.
Evacuation centres remain open across the city.