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A state of emergency has been declared in Dunedin, Oamaru, and across Otago as heavy rain batters the South.
Mayor Dave Cull said in a 7.45pm release the state of emergency had been declared because the emergency situation is beyond the resources of the emergency services alone, or otherwise required significant co-ordination.
It meant extra powers were available to assist in the emergency response.
Just after 8pm Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has declared a state of emergency in response to worsening conditions in Oamaru and surrounding areas.
There were multiple roads closed, including SH1 north of Oamaru and SH83 from Kurow to Oamaru.
A full list of affected roads, included closures, are available at www.waitaki.govt.nz.
Sandbags and sand would soon be available at the Eden St carpark (east end) for self-service (please bring a shovel).
If people were unable to get their own sandbags they can could call Civil Defence on 434 8561 for assistance.
People were asked to stay at home if possible, however, if they felt they needed to evacuate they should go immediately.
People could also come to the Oamaru Civil Defence HQ, Thames St, opposite the police station.
The Otago Regional Council announced a state of emergency had been declared in Otago, in support of Dunedin City and Waitaki Districts.
Group Controller Chris Hawker said Otago Regional Council Chairman Stephen Woodhead made the declaration at 7.30pm.
“It gives us the ability to call on the resources of the NZ Defence Force as the impact of the flooding spreads,” Mr Hawker said.
Otago Regional Council’s flood managers are closely monitoring the Silver Stream, which has begun to overtop the spillway at Gordon Road and flood rural land outside Mosgiel.
Evacuations are occurring in some low-lying areas of Oamaru, Mosgiel and Dunedin.
A house in Oterahura is also being evacuated and emergency management staff are assessing the extent of flooding in the Ida Valley.
Highways and local roads are also closed by flooding.
Dunedin Civil Defence Controller Sandy Graham said Civil Defence was making plans to evacuate people from some areas in Mosgiel.
``Residents in low-lying areas who feel concerned should make plans to evacuate or self-evacuate themselves to stay with friends or family who live on higher ground should it be required.
``Check on neighbours, particularly if they are vulnerable,'' Ms Graham said.
Due to heavy rain infiltrating into the wastewater system, manhole covers have been forced up in Surrey St, South Dunedin, and on North Rd in North East Valley.
The system backs up at certain bottleneck points and overflows onto the road. The overflows are contained on roads, but people should stay out of floodwaters in these areas and treat them as contaminated.
The Dunedin City Council has opened all available bypasses to alleviate pressure on the system.
Council staff, contractors, emergency services and Civil Defence personnel were responding as quickly as they caould to weather-related issues based on priority.
A number of road closures are now in place, including SH1 at Waikouaiti and SH87 Outram to Kyeburn.
A full list of road closures and conditions is available online at www.dunedin.govt.nz/road-conditions.
State highway closures are on the NZ Transport Agency website at http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/
Ms Graham said motorists should not go rubbernecking, or put themselves or others at risk.
Anyone wanting to report flood-related issues with council services should call us on 03 477 4000 to report it.
Anyone who felt their safety is in danger or who has water entering their house or business should call emergency services on 111.
Dunedin City Council has opened information centres in South Dunedin and Mosgiel as places where people can go for more information and which can also potentially be used as welfare centres if the need develops.
The centres are currently staffed and are located at:
- Mosgiel, Fire Station Theatre, 3 Cargill Street
- South Dunedin, The Mercy Room, Catholic Social Services, 42 Macandrew Road
Sandbags and sand are available from the Memorial Park car park beside the stadium/Mosgiel Memorial Gymnasium, and in South Dunedin at the carpark behind St Clair Tennis Club, Victoria Road.
Where possible, people should bring a shovel to fill the bags, although contractors are available on-site at both locations to assist with filling and loading.
Around 7000 sandbags have been collected so far.