Emergency declared, student missing in New Zealand floods

Wellington, May 9 (BNA): Authorities in Auckland have declared a state of emergency as floods once again hit New Zealand’s largest city.

Further north in the city of Whangarei, a high school student has gone missing after a school group exploring caves ran into trouble when floodwaters hit.

Fire and emergency crews said they responded to more than 200 calls, most of them in Oakland, the Associated Press reported.

Many of them were due to floodwaters entering buildings, but they also responded to landslides, fallen trees, and trapped cars.

Severe weather has gripped the North Island this year. In January, four people died when floodwaters hit Auckland. In February, 11 people died when Hurricane Gabriel hit.

It has been a difficult time for the region, said Chris Hepkins, New Zealand’s prime minister.

“We’re going to get through this. We’re going to support Oakland through it,” he told reporters. “We know it’s hard on top of everything else they’ve been dealing with, but my request right now to people is just to keep you safe.”

Heavy rains are expected to continue through midnight, authorities said, although they hope the heaviest rains have already passed. Some train and bus services have been cancelled, and authorities have urged people to avoid non-essential travel.

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