A state of emergency has been declared in New Zealand’s Fiordland due to torrential rain that has flooded Milford Road and trapped hundreds of people.

The only road in and out of Milford Sound has been extensively damaged from rain, and in some places completely washed out by a river, causing almost 200 tourists and 200 staff members to become trapped for multiple nights. Helicopter evacuations that were planned for today have been pushed back to tomorrow due to extensive rain that continues to fall.

Despite the conditions, Emergency Management Southland controller Angus McKay has stated that all those stuck in Milford are safe, warm and have enough food. 

A group of 31 hikers became trapped and some received minor injuries when a landslide hit the hut they were in during a day hike on the Routeburn Track. Everyone in the hut is safe, however operations are underway to evacuate the hikers as soon as possible.

McKay has said ‘No one is on the Milford Track as it was cleared at the weekend.’ However there may be people stuck on other tracks in the area.