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Fiordland state of emergency, SH94 to Milford Sound Piopiotahi closed for this week

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the Milford Road, SH94, could be closed all this week given the damage from torrential rain in the past 24 hours, forecast to continue today.

The road was closed earlier today between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm).

A state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area was declared by Southland Civil Defence before 2pm yesterday.

A small number of tourists were earlier choppered out from Forks Bridge about 1.5 km from the Homer Tunnel, says Transport Agency journey manager Peter Brown.

"There is extensive damage from Lake Gunn to the Homer Tunnel which will delay us opening this road quickly and there is still a section we haven’t inspected due to bad weather preventing a fly-over."

Southland Civil Defence declared a state of emergency for Fiordland community board area at 1.45pm yesterday.

A state of emergency for the Fiordland Community Board area has been declared in Southland to provide a coordinated response to the flooding emergency in Milford Sound Piopiotahi. This will allow agencies in the response to gather resources for the remote area.

Emergency Management Southland controller Angus McKay says Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong signed off on the declaration at 1.40pm yesterday afternoon.

Everyone in the Milford township is accounted for and will be staying in Milford Sound Piopiotahi for at least today because of flooding in the sound and along Milford Road.

Controller Angus McKay says the 382 people in the Milford area are made up of staff and visitors and are either in Mitre Peak Lodge or on the tourist boats. They have plenty of food and are safe and warm.

The Cleddau River and high tides caused flooding this morning and staff will be monitoring the expected rainfall and tides throughout today.

Milford Road is likely to be closed for some days because of slips and flooding damage. Staff of the roading companies in the Milford Road Alliance are checking the road for vehicles.

The Invercargill emergency centre has been activated to monitor and respond as needed.

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