Wellington: New Zealand’s Queenstown on Friday declared a state of emergency for an initial period of seven days, as part of the response to the current heavy rain and risks of slips and flooding.
Queenstown Mayor Glyn Lewers said the declaration was necessary given the considerable rainfall experienced by Queenstown, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The current weather event is an active and evolving situation,” Lewers said, adding that the district council has been working with emergency management throughout the night to assess the full extent of the situation in the current conditions.
Several flooding and debris events have been identified, and the council continues to contact affected people, including evacuating more than 100 people, he said, adding that a temporary evacuation center has been set up to manage evacuees who have not been able to relocate.
The new Skyline Queenstown gondola, which has been expanded and relaunched in June, was temporarily closed due to slips and flooding.
The road to Glenorchy, 45 minutes from Queenstown, has been cut off due to a surge in the lake level. Glenorchy was well-known for the filming locations for The Lord of the Rings.
A regional state of emergency remains in place for nearby Southland following flooding and slips caused by downpours on Thursday, with a number of schools and kindergartens closed due to the flooding event.
Queenstown has also been suffering from gut parasite infection over the past few days. A boil water notice is in place for businesses and properties across Queenstown following a cryptosporidium outbreak, with 21 confirmed cases so far.
The parasite can infect people through faeces and can also be transmitted through water supplies.