Hundreds of families on New Zealand’s South Island were forced to leave their homes on Thursday after dramatic flooding prompted a state of emergency in three regions.
A tropically fuelled storm has dumped more than 30 centimetres (11 inches) of rain on parts of the South Island, causing rivers to burst their banks. The extreme weather has also felled trees, blocking major roads.
A state of emergency was declared Wednesday in Buller, on the west coast, and Nelson — where 233 homes have been evacuated after a month’s worth of rain fell in just 15 hours.
The deluge transformed Nelson’s main river, the Maitai, into a torrent — flooding houses, exposing pipes and leaving streets knee-deep in water.
The New Zealand Herald, the former British colony’s newspaper of record and most-circulated daily, appeared keen to blame the disaster on climate change — despite explicitly stating that “this specific weather event had not been analysed regarding the influence of climate change”.
Dr Daniel Kingston, a senior geography lecturer at the University of Otago, was cited as saying that, despite the lack of event-specific analysis, climate change “more than likely play[ed] a role” in the floods by attributing rises in average air and sea surface temperature to it, asserting that this could “further amplify these sorts of events.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP), a former French state enterprise still effectively subsidised by the French government via content subscriptions, also appeared to imply a direct link between the flooding and climate change in its reporting — which Breitbart London has drawn on for this article — by concluding in its penultimate paragraph that “Climate change is having an enormous impact on New Zealand’s insurance sector.”
Nelson city mayor Rachel Reese described the flash flooding as a “one-in-100-year event” as search and rescue teams, plus military personnel, helped people on submerged streets.
Reese warned locals to treat all water as contaminated, because some sewers had broken.
Nelson resident Sam Lagrutta said the situation was “frightening” after police gave him just five minutes to leave his home.
“I literally just grabbed a carry-on bag and filled it with my passport, wallet and anything important I could find,” he told The New Zealand Herald.
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