New Zealand counts the costs of deadly floods

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STORY: New Zealand is counting the cost of deadly floods and landslides following heavy downpour.

Four people lost their lives over the last three days, and a state of emergency remains in place around the biggest city, Auckland.

Footage from the ground showed homes and vehicles wrecked.

Drone footage from Sunday showed fields underwater and a derailed train.

Insurance companies are tallying claims that may add up to the country’s most expensive weather event ever.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warned on Monday there was more to come.

"My focus and the focus of central government is supporting Auckland through what is still, you know, a big challenge ahead of them. There's a big clean up to go and, of course, we know through the forecasts that there's more bad weather ahead."

On Sunday, thousands were without power, and hundreds were without water, many of them, housed in evacuation shelters.

Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni joined in with Red Cross workers.

“Well in the whole of West Auckland there’s been a huge impact on people. A huge number of families have had to evacuate because of flooding, some of them have nowhere to go, some of them lost everything and some of them were at fear of losing their lives. So they’ve come in here, some of them quite distressed and the community response to that has been to give them, to meet all the needs that they have, including their emotional needs at this time.”

The country’s insurance industry says the cost of flood damage could exceed that of destructive floods on the West Coast in 2021, some $63 million U.S. dollars.

Economists say the recovery and rebuild after the latest weather could add to inflationary pressures on New Zealand with vehicles and goods that need to be replaced and construction work needed to fix or rebuild houses and infrastructure damaged by the flooding.