Hundreds evacuated in New Zealand floods

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from New Zealand's Canterbury region after heavy rains flooded the area over the weekend.

Local media reported Monday that at least 300 homes were evacuated overnight as river water levels rose across the region in a "one in 100 year deluge."

Highways, schools and offices were closed.

And New Zealand's Defence Forces deployed helicopters to rescue people stranded in the Ashburton area.

"Well I went to bed about ten o'clock last night and there was not a sign of the river. Get up at six o'clock this morning and it's gone - half my farm is underwater."

Ashburton's Mayor Neil Brown said half of the city would have to be evacuated if the river's levees broke, but that there was still some capacity in the river.

New Zealand's MetService issued a red warning on Sunday for heavy rain in Canterbury, and sounded multiple warnings elsewhere.

The country's emergency management minister has announced a donation of over $70,000 to support Canterbury's flooded communities, adding that it was still too early to know the full cost of the damage.