Heavy rain causes flooding in New Zealand's Whanganui

Heavy rain causes flooding in New Zealand's WhanganuiREUTERS

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - Heavy rain caused New Zealand's Whanganui River to breach its banks and caused flooding in the area, local media reported.

Local state of emergencies were declared in the Taranaki, Whanganui and Rangitikei areas due to the severe weather and flooding, local media said.

The Whanganui River breached its 8.6-metre high stopbank just after midnight on Saturday (June 20), with nearby properties being flooded as a result, Whanganui District Council told local media.

Houses were surrounded in water, with some residents forced to leave their homes.

Residents have been asked to avoid standing water in flood-affected areas due to possible contamination, local media reported.

Whanganui River level has since stabilised and no significant increase in flooding is expected, Whanganui District Council told local media.