Reports tornado hit South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe

Reports tornado hit South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe

By fijivillage
Saturday 19/06/2021
Tornado damage in Papatoetoe Photo: Ben Wilson

One person has been killed and two injured, in the tornado that swept through South Auckland this morning.

The storm lifted roofs, toppled trees, shattered windows, downed powerlines and sent trampolines flying in the suburb of Papatoetoe at around 8:30am.

A worker was killed when the tornado struck a freight container hub in Wiri Station Road.

Two others were taken to Middlemore Hospital - one is in a moderate condition and the other has minor injuries.

Several containers were toppled by the strong wind.

Ports of Auckland says it operates the site with several other businesses but none of the injured people worked for the company.

It said it is shocked by the freak event and its thoughts are with the people affected.

WorkSafe is investigating the death.

A Civil Defence welfare centre has been opened in Newbury St, Otara.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who visited the scene this afternoon, said the centre was helping people whose homes were no longer habitable and supporting others with whatever was needed.

"I'm standing where the tornado went through and the devastation is pretty remarkable," Goff said.

"House after house with damage to their roofs, their fences blown over.

"Just across the road from me, a truck was blown off the road, right through the fence and into a house."

Many homes were no longer weatherproof, as windows had been smashed by flying debris or roofs damaged, he said.

"People are working flat out here to get tarpaulins over the roofs before the weather breaks again.

"The power is off until such time as all the power lines can be repaired. The damage to power lines is quite extensive - there are lines down everywhere."

The death of one man in the freak weather event was tragic, but Goff said many others had been lucky to survive.

"There are so many stories of good luck here - people have said if we had been out on the street, we would have been cut in half by flying corrugated iron or power poles coming down or power lines across the road".

Goff urged people to take caution while cleaning up, as one person had already fallen from a roof.

Despite the devastation, Goff said the tornado had brought out the best in people, with one building company helping people weather proof their homes for free.

More than 20 fire crews from across Auckland are helping with the cleanup and a Fire and Emergency command unit is at the scene.

[Source: RNZ]

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