Floods strike Cook Islands’ Rarotonga

Flood waters threaten a house at Tupapa, Rarotonga. Photo: Minister George Maggie Support Office

About five Cook Islands families were driven from their homes by flooding this week, during a downpour that brought a month’s worth of rain to Rarotonga.

The Metservice measured 121 mm of rain during the deluge on Wednesday night, six more than the island’s monthly average.

Inspector John Strickland from the Cook Islands police said flood waters over a metre deep were recorded in residential areas close to the islands main town, Avarua.

“Between five to six families, they had to move because of the location where their houses were. The water was a little bit too much it actually reached into their houses,” Strickland said.

After sheltering with relatives, the families had returned to their homes by Friday to clean up, he said.

Mainly parts known to be prone to flooding were inundated. Several roads were closed and rugby fields swamped but the down town area emerged unscathed, Strickland said.

“We experienced a lot of water on our roads. All our streams, low lying areas on the island especially here in town. It’s the first time we have experienced this for quite some time.

“(Flooding) here in town was mainly next to the main bridge that is under construction but it did not create much of a flow of the water because the drainage was all done properly prior to the construction.”

By Thursday afternoon the rain had abated and the flood waters started to recede. More heavy rain forecast for Thursday night did not arrive, Strickland said.

“There was some rain but not as much as we had experienced from the day before. That was a blessing… damage seems minimal at this time.”

Source: RNZ