New Zealand Floods — Hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes in New Zealand on Monday, with some describing dramatic helicopter rescues as heavy rain triggered extensive flooding in the Canterbury area.
Over the weekend and into Monday, some areas received up to 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain, prompting authorities to proclaim a state of emergency. Heavy rain is expected into Monday evening, according to forecasters, before conditions improve.
According to the military, one guy was clinging to a tree near Darfield when he leaped into floods and attempted to swim to safety but was washed away.
Helicopter teams searched the water for 30 minutes before locating the victim and rescuing him. An elderly couple was also rescued from their car’s top by a military chopper.
“It’s been inspiring to see the community come together overnight to help the displaced individuals who were forced to flee their homes,” says one resident “Cpt. Jake Faber, Army Liaison Officer, stated.
A private helicopter pilot rescued another guy on Sunday when he was washed from his property while attempting to relocate his livestock to safety.
Paul Adams told Stuff that he believes he was struck by a wall of water that he didn’t see coming. He was dragged downstream by the rushing Ashburton River before dragging himself to a fence and then onto a tree. When another farmer saw his headlight, he started a search and rescue effort.
Adams told Stuff that the rescues were “amazing,” and that he was now back on his property and “as good as gold.” He stated he’d only discovered roughly 100 of his 250-strong herd alive thus yet.
While in New Zealand, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that he was thinking of people affected by the floods.
“Floods are nothing new to Australia,” Morrison remarked. “Or, for that matter, flames, cyclones, or even mouse infestations. We’ve had a lot of challenges in the previous several years, especially in the United States.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand planned to go to Christchurch later Monday to get a personal account of the situation.