A Cork woman has described the horror of devastating floods in New Zealand that have claimed the lives of three people, has spoken of how the torrential rains battered her home and adopted city of Auckland.
Cathy O’Sullivan worked as a sub-editor forfor four years, before emigrating to New Zealand in 2006. Ms O’Sullivan said the deluge of rain started on Friday, so intense that “you could barely see out the window.”
About 75 per cent of what Auckland normally receives during the entire summer, fell in just a few hours, creating chaos, landslides, and trapping people in their homes and cars.
“It came raging down. We had a torrent of water flowing through our property,” said Ms O’Sullivan.
“A few hours later I looked out, and I could some of our land slipping away.”
The rains have created a large mudslide on their property where there was native trees and woodland. “What was quite a beautiful outlook, is now a big brown mess, and it has come right up to our property.”
Ms O’Sullivan was not injured, but her partner, Mark, was stuck in the airport for sixteen hours.
“He was meant to be flying to Vancouver, but all of the flights were cancelled and the airport itself was flooded. The whole of the groundfloor was flooded – there was no way in or out. People were in a lot of distress in the airport. Mark spent the night sleeping in the airport in one of the lounges.”
Ms O’Sullivan grew up in Carrigaline, and attended Carrigaline Community School before studying in UCC. Now in New Zealand for 17 years, she is the Editor of CIO New Zealand dedicated to technology news, and has worked for NewshubNZ, NZStuff, and the daily newspaper, New Zealand Herald.
Three people died in Auckland’s floods, and another person is still missing.
“The motorways were completely flooded,” she said.
“They weren’t roads, they were rivers. There were cars and buses floating around. Unfortunately, some people couldn’t get out of their cars. I think one guy got trapped in a culvert, and sadly passed away. It sadly doesn’t surprise me that people died – the amount of water was like nothing anyone had ever seen before. It was truly, truly, terrifying.”
Ms O’Sullivan said New Zealand has had flooding events before, but these were localised to low-lying areas.
“But we have never seen the scale of this. This hit every part of New Zealand’s largest city. Everyone has had some form of damage,” she said.