New Zealand floods force evacuations after Tropical Storm Debbie

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Reuters

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Wide areas were flooded as rivers burst their banks

The entire town of Edgecumbe on New Zealand’s North Island has been evacuated, after severe flooding.

About 600 homes and 2,000 people are affected, as tractors and boats help take locals to safety.

The rain, caused by tropical storm Debbie which hit Australia a week ago as a cyclone, has caused a river to burst its banks.

Meteorologists have described the extreme weather in both countries as a once-in-500-years event.

Heavy storms are also hitting New Zealand’s South Island.

In Edgecumbe the water is said to be as high as 2m (6.5ft) in some areas. Police say they will patrol the evacuated areas and have erected barriers to prevent residents from returning.

Police are searching for one man believed missing in floodwaters near the swollen Waikato river.

Image copyright
TVNZ

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Residents have been told not to attempt to return until the floodwaters have subsided

Parts of the Bay of Plenty area received up to 250mm of rain in the last 36 hours, the New Zealand Herald reported.

“We had to evacuate, (the) house is totally flooded now. We’re not sure how bad it’s going to get,” one resident told…

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