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Floods are New Zealand’s number one hazard.

What is a flood?

Floods can happen when storms and heavy rain cause rivers to overflow their banks. They can also be caused by high tides.

What damage can floods do?

Floodwaters can damage land, wash away roads, bridges, railway tracks and buildings. Crops can be ruined and livestock drowned.

Lives are also at risk when water has risen very quickly. Fast-flowing water filled with things like tree branches and sheets of iron can be very dangerous.

After a flood there can be a lot of damage and pollution to clean up. It may take months or years to recover.










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The Fitzherbert stopbank, in Palmerston North, did its job during a storm in 2004. Image: Civil Defence.

Flooding in Invercargill, January 1984. Image: Civil Defence.

A child wades through flood waters. Is this a safe thing to do? Image: Civil Defence.

Parents survey the damage after a flood at Kopane School, Manawatu in 2004. Image: Civil Defence.