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Local State of Emergency closes SH6 between Hokitika and Haast – Westland District Council

Heavy rainfall, rising rivers, and dangerous driving conditions has prompted Civil Defence to declare a local State of Emergency for the Westland district from Hokitika to Haast.

State Highway 6 between Hokitika and Haast is to be cleared of all traffic from 6pm today. Travellers currently on the road must immediately move to the nearest township and seek accommodation. If people are unable to find accommodation they should make their way to the local Civil Defence Centre for advice.

Police are now on the road actively directing travellers to safety.

West Coast Emergency Management Group Controller, Te Aroha Cook, says the safety of people in the region has to be top of mind, and the best way to keep everyone safe during this period is to keep them off the roads.

“Our main priority is to ensure people are safe. By declaring the emergency now and getting people off the roads in the daylight, we are greatly reducing the risk of danger to our locals, our tourists and our emergency service teams.

“We know there is an increased risk of accidents and issues in the dark. With rivers at risk of breaching and the chance of slips increasing in this weather, we need to act now.”

Locals have been advised to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Motel and hotel patrons must stay in place and anyone camping near waterways need to immediately pack up and move to the nearest township for safe and secure accommodation.

“All our emergency service partners and our local communities are behind us in making this decision. People have until 6pm to clear the roads – after that time, Police will be actively enforcing the road closure. Emergency Management staff and volunteers will be providing assistance as necessary,” Ms Cook says.

Civil Defence will advise when the State of Emergency is lifted. People should monitor the West Coast CDEM Facebook page and Westland District Council website and Facebook pages for updates.

Anyone requiring emergency management assistance can contact their local Civil Defence centre. If an emergency, people should call 111.

If you must travel this afternoon, you must travel north. Civil Defence will monitor the situation and lift the State of Emergency as soon as it is safe.

You can keep up with the latest road conditions through Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency:

and the latest weather conditions through MetService NZ

 

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