11 March 2017
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has sent 10 soldiers and two trucks to help evacuate at least 500 people stranded by floodwaters in the Coromandel.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the soldiers were dispatched from Hamilton and Tauranga at noon to rescue the remaining concertgoers attending the Sundaise Festival who were caught out by rising floodwaters. The campers are stranded at Dickey Flat Road and the campsite in the Karangahake Gorge.
“Our immediate priority is to bring the people and their vehicles to safer ground as heavy rain and flooding continues to be forecaste for the Coromandel. We are ready to provide further assistance to communities in all the affected regions if required,” Major General Gall said.
Amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury has a scheduled port visit to Tauranga this weekend and crew members have been placed on standby in case local authorities request further assistance.
On Wednesday, the NZDF sent several trucks and about 20 personnel to evacuate schoolchildren trapped by torrential rains whilst camping in the Hunua Ranges.