The New Zealand government is warning people to be prepared for the next flood as it tries to clean up the country’s flood-ravaged coastlines.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) said the flood, which hit parts of Canterbury, the north Island and the south Island on Sunday, had swept over some towns and destroyed hundreds of homes.
The government has been working with emergency services and local communities to deal with the damage.
The floodwaters have been rising rapidly, and some roads have been flooded, with many roads closed.
It is expected that floodwaters will reach the North Island and Auckland later this week, and by the end of the month, they could be flooding the capital city.
In a statement on Monday, the DOC said the region had suffered an unprecedented magnitude 7.6 earthquake in the area on Saturday, the highest earthquake recorded in the state of New Zealand.
The flood affected about 600,000 homes and had caused flooding to roads and houses, and caused power cuts and disruption to the grid, the statement said.
Residents are being urged to stay at home as they wait for the floodwaters to recede.
“We expect some power outages for several days, with significant disruption in the CBD,” it said.
It added that there was no danger to public health, but that it was important to get people back to work as quickly as possible.
“This is not a storm you can just take out of the way and go on with your day.”
The government said the water had risen faster than expected, and there were reports of landslides.
Residents have been advised to report any water-related problems to the DOC at any time.
It also urged residents to keep a safe distance from waterways.
“People should avoid driving into water, or swimming, as the water could cause significant damage to vehicles, particularly in high water,” it added.