Media Advisory: Flooding in Fiordland

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Landslide hits hut on track

This is an official message from Emergency Management Southland
Thirty-one people are safe and awaiting evacuation after a landslide hit the Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track at 1.30am this morning.

Emergency Management Southland controller Angus McKay said the priority this morning is to get the 31 out from the hut area, and others from other huts on various tracks.

“We don’t have an exact number of people in the different huts, but we are working with the helicopter pilots on how the evacuations can be done,” Mr McKay said.

The evacuation plan to move 195 tourists out of Milford Sound Piopiotahi is also being worked on this morning, with the aim to have the plan in place by midday. The goal is to evacuate the tourists this afternoon, but this is very weather dependent. There are also about 300 workers in the sound as well.

The Cleddau River has caused flooding in the sound and Milford Road was closed yesterday and is likely to stay closed for some days because of slips and flooding damage. Heavy rain has continued to fall in Fiordland and throughout Southland overnight.

About 70 people were airlifted out of the section of Milford Road that is blocked on the Te Anau side of the Homer Tunnel and from some of the walking track huts yesterday afternoon.

Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong declared a state of emergency for the Fiordland Community Board area at 1.40pm yesterday to provide a coordinated response to the emergency.

Everyone, both tourists and workers, in the Milford township, is accounted for and are either in Mitre Peak Lodge or on the tourist boats. They have plenty of food and are safe and warm.

 

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