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Christchurch declares state of emergency

Christchurch declares state of emergency

Parts of New Zealand have declared an emergency as a powerful storm hits, causing flooding and forcing some people to evacuate their homes.

Authorities along the country's remote West Coast were meeting on Monday evening to decide whether to declare a state of emergency for the region, parts of which were still reeling from a huge storm that hit at the start of February.

The mayor then warned "we are expecting homes to be flooded", pushing civilians who are in low-lying spots to carry out an evacuation.

More than 23,000 people were without power in Taranaki and Tasman districts and residents in Christchurch prepared to evacuate Tuesday due to heavy rain that could cause severe flooding in the low-lying district.

The storm, which has pummeled Tonga and Fiji, is expected to enter New Zealand on Tuesday.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has declared a state of emergency for the area, which includes Banks Peninsula.

He also advised people to always be aware of high winds and possible debris on the road.

Air New Zealand cancelled all flights into Wellington and four other airports through to midnight on Tuesday as roads were closed around the coastal town of Kaikoura and schools in the upper half of the South Island closed ahead of the storm's arrival.

Air New Zealand grounded all flights from Wellington from 2.45pm (0145 GMT) as weather authorities issued warnings of severe weather and heavy rain and gusts of up to 93 miles per hour.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, directed troops to be deployed in areas are expected to be hit the hardest.

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