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New Zealanders asked to evacuate as torrential rains ravage parts of South Island

Rivers are overflowing and power supply has been cut to thousands of residents in the Southland region, as civil defense declared a state of emergency in the area and asked people in low-lying areas to evacuate immediately.

Earlier this week, rescue teams airlifted some of the nearly 500 stranded tourists in the remote Milford Sound region after torrential rains cut road access to the popular tourist destination. Many of these tourists and hotel staff are still stuck in the area as road access remains cut off.

Civil defense officials have said it could be several days before the water level in the rivers returns to normal.

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