6000 cut off as NZ cleans up after Gita
Former Cyclone Gita has caused flooding, damaged roads and isolated thousands of people in New Zealand's popular tourist destination Golden Bay.
Strong rain caused several landslides, closing the road on Takaka Hill in the Tasman District in the north of the South Island and cutting about 6000 locals and holidaymakers off from the rest of NZ.
The council advised work to clear the road would take several days and food supplies would be shipped to the bay on barges.
Civil Defence says it will be several days until Takaka Hill road can be reopened to one lane.
The owner of the supermarket in Takaka told Radio NZ that people were queuing outside his store well before it opened. By Wednesday afternoon the shop had run out of milk, bread and toilet paper and had only small supplies of canned goods and baby products left.
Takaka is at the north end of South Island and is near Abel Tasman National Park, popular for its hiking and stunning beaches.
While Gita dumped considerable amounts of rain, there was no widespread flooding on the South Island's east coast.
"Christchurch appears to have escaped the worst of ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita after the cyclone split and tracked further south than predicted," city officials said.
Several places declared an emergency as the storm hit, although most were spared major damage.
Between midday Tuesday and 6am Wednesday, Fire and Emergency received 1300 call-outs, mainly for flooded homes, fallen powerlines and trees, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
National carrier Air New Zealand had cancelled several flights from Wellington since Tuesday afternoon and was working through the backlog on Wednesday.
Gita is now about 250km east of Canterbury and should continue to move away from the country, the MetService says.
Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black says while the worst of the weather is over, heavy rain is expected to continue in Dunedin and North Otago until late Wednesday afternoon.
© DPA 2018