New Zealand on Saturday declared a state of emergency in several parts of South Island that have been affected by heavy floods.

Emergency has been declared in Christchurch, Dunedin, Selwyn and Otago region, which has received the highest rainfall, measuring some 200 mm in 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Civil Defence.

In Timaru, a port city with nearly 29,000 inhabitants, the state of emergency was active earlier in the day and lifted once the water level receded, reports Efe news.

Authorities have evacuated the residents from areas considered dangerous, such as in the case of some 100 families from Outram, in Dunedin.

Evacuations have also been carried out in Christchurch, the most populous city on South Island, where the waters of the Avon and Heathcote rivers have overflowed their banks in several sections.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English expressed solidarity with those affected and advised them to follow authorities’ instructions and help their neighbours, according to a local television channel.

The country’s weather service forecast said temperature would reach below zero degrees Celsius on Saturday night on South Island.