4 May 2011

Tornado cost tipped to be in tens of millions

10:34 pm on 4 May 2011

Insurers say the tornado that scythed through parts of Auckland's North Shore is expected to cost them tens of millions of dollars.

A Filipino man was killed and 14 others injured when the tornado hit about 3pm on Tuesday. Two people remain in hospital.

Most of the damage occurred at a large shopping centre in Albany and homes in Birkenhead.

Benedict Dacayan, 37, was employed by Fletcher Construction and was working on the Placemakers building in Albany when the force of the tornado flung him against a wall.

On Wednesday, Auckland mayor Len Brown visited the retail site and houses in Birkenhead that were damaged and says he plans to visit Mr Dacayan's family.

Mr Brown says he is shocked by the tornado's force and the amount of damage caused.

The Insurance Council says assessors are visiting those affected and believes the cost will be in the tens of millions.

Chief executive Chris Ryan says the tornado, recent floods in coastal parts of Hawke's Bay and earthquakes in Canterbury have stretched the insurance industry, but is confident that insurers will be able to meet all losses.

More than 60 stores in the Westfield mall, across the road from the Mega Centre in Albany, have been unable to reopen on Wednesday.

The Placemakers building has been badly damaged, as has the roof of the Pak'n Save supermarket.

The Auckland Council has closed its welfare centre but anyone who needs help can call the Civil Defence hotline on 0800 463 010.

Police say anyone with vehicles stranded in the vicinity should contact the North Shore Policing Centre on 477 5000.