A state of emergency has been declared after severe storms brought on heavy flooding which resulted in hundreds of homes being evacuated in parts of New Zealand.

Civil Defence workers gesture to an army rescue vehicle as they prepare to evacuate residents from their flooded homes in Christchurch, New Zealand on 22 July 2017.
Civil Defence workers gesture to an army rescue vehicle as they prepare to evacuate residents from their flooded homes in Christchurch, New Zealand on 22 July 2017.

Flood-hit regions of New Zealand were warned to expect more severe storms on Sunday after heavy flooding forced evacuations in parts of South Island.

The country declared a state of emergency and called in the military to help as some towns experienced three times their average monthly rainfall in just two days, topping 250 millimetres near Dunedin.

Rivers burst their banks and landslides closed major roads, with icy conditions creating treacherous conditions for clean-up crews.

A state of emergency was in force for both Christchurch and Dunedin, with people in affected areas advised to avoid non-essential travel.

"We don't need rubberneckers... it's not going to help anybody and it's just going to upset people," Dunedin mayor David Cull said.

Around 200 homes were evacuated around Dunedin, with Cull saying it would be days before some residents could return home.

In Christchurch, authorities warned more flooding was possible at high tide late Sunday afternoon.

TRT World spoke to New Zealand-based journalist Caitlin McGee.

The New Zealand Defence Force deployed about 140 troops to help relief efforts, sandbagging vulnerable areas and using trucks to reach stranded motorists.

The official MetService forecasting bureau said more severe weather was set to lash the South Island this week, with heavy rains on the west coast from Monday.

It said flood-stricken regions would be hit again later in the week.

"All eyes will be on the forecasts for Thursday, when another cold southerly rain event looks likely to affect Canterbury and much of the South Island," it said.

Source: AFP