New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has declared a state of emergency following heavy rains that caused severe flooding across the city. The deluge of rain resulted in water-filled basements, stranded vehicles, uprooted trees, and disrupted rail services, with heavy rains expected to continue until Wednesday evening. Auckland Deputy Mayor, Desley Simpson, informed reporters that the state of emergency was declared as a precaution, with emergency services on high alert to manage the “evolving emergency situation.”

Furthermore, rescuers are searching for a high school student who went missing in a flooded cave located north of Auckland. The student was part of a group outing, and the classmates managed to leave the cave safely. The authorities dispatched rescue teams to Abbey Caves to search for the student. Superintendent Tony Hill, the police spokesperson, expressed his condolences to the missing student’s family and all those involved in the group outing and school.

Auckland had received record rainfall in January and was hit by Cyclone Gabrielle the following month, causing significant flooding. The New Zealand Meteorological Service’s Georgina Griffiths stated that the Auckland region had received 90% of its total annual rainfall from January to April. Some areas received up to 35mm (1.3in) of rainfall in an hour, resulting in the area being “very saturated” after five rough months. Consequently, people are advised to avoid driving on flooded streets and postpone unnecessary travel.

In mid-February, Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc on New Zealand, leaving 11 people dead, causing widespread destruction, and flooding Auckland’s main airport. Just weeks before the cyclone, torrential rains and flooding had left four dead in the same area. Finance Minister Grant Robertson likened the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle to the destruction caused by the Christchurch earthquake that occurred 12 years earlier.