Tehran (IP)- Hundreds of South Island residents have been evacuated and are waiting to learn the severity of flood damage to their homes as New Zealand's big winter wet continues.

Iran PressAsia: Hundreds of New Zealand's South Island families were forced to leave their homes on Thursday (Aug 18) after dramatic flooding prompted a state of emergency in three regions. 

A tropically fuelled storm has dumped more than 30cm of rain on parts of the South Island, causing rivers to burst their banks. The extreme weather has also felled trees, blocking major roads. 

New Zealand's North Island has also been affected by the wild weather, with winds of up to 120km an hour barrelling across Northland, where three people were injured in a car accident after a tree fell on State Highway One. 

Last month, New Zealand was soaked by its wettest July on record, and the wild weather looks set to continue until the weekend.

The country's largest insurer, IAG, has said building in flood-prone areas must stop.

Climate change is having an enormous impact on New Zealand's insurance sector. Ten major floods in the past two years have led to total losses of around NZ$400 million, IAG said.

About 1 percent of New Zealand's homes – 20,000 properties – are at risk of flooding. 


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