New Zealand's Queenstown has been placed under a state of emergency after severe weather conditions in the popular resort destination caused flooding and landslides.
Mayor of Queenstown Glyn Lewers declared the state of emergency on Sept. 22 at 6:55am, given the intense rain over the past 24 hours.
“Several flooding and debris events have been identified and we’re continuing to contact affected people.”
Flooding and debris are flowing into the town centre and surrounding districts, requiring evacuation from properties surrounding Upper Brecon Street, Reavers Lane, Fryer Street, and Hamilton Road.
In the Queenstown area, 109 people were evacuated from their homes overnight due to multiple road closures and flood damage.
Managing EvacueesMr. Lewers said Emergency Management Otago was looking to establish a temporary place of refuge.
“A temporary evacuation centre has been set up at St. Peters Church to manage evacuees who have not been able to relocate,” he said.
He urged locals to avoid travelling through or around the town centre.
New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency echoed his sentiments while cautioning people about contaminated water.
“Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water, do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater,” the agency advised.
A boil water notice remains in place for all properties serviced by the Queenstown council due to a recent outbreak of cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite that results in severe gastric illness.
The outbreak occurred because the region's water treatment plant does not currently have a filter to eliminate the parasite from the drinking water.
The agency said it was safe to take a bath or shower but be careful not to swallow any water. Use caution when bathing babies and young children.