What to in a Landslide, New Zealand.

Landslides can happen without warning. They are often triggered by heavy rain, earthquakes and, in some cases, human activity. Find out what to do before, during and after a landslide.

A landslide is the movement of rock, soil and vegetation down a slope. Landslides can be the size of a single boulder. Or they can be as big as a large avalanche of debris with huge quantities of rock and soil that spreads across many kilometres. Landslides are a serious geological hazard in many parts of New Zealand.

Heavy rainfall or earthquakes can cause a landslide. Human activities can also cause landslides. These could be:

  • removal of trees and vegetation
  • steep roadside cuttings, or
  • leaking water pipes

Be aware of the warning signs.

New Zealand has mountainous land, loose volcanic soil and frequent earthquake activity. These make landslides common in many parts of the country.

It’s important to recognise the warning signs and act quickly.

Reduce the impacts of landslides

Check if your area might be prone to landslides. Areas that are prone to landslides include areas with:

  • existing old landslides
  • steep slopes
  • drainage channels on steep slopes
  • streams and riverbanks, or
  • coastal cliffs.

Review your insurance regularly. Having insurance cover for your home and contents is important to help you get back on your feet if you suffer damage in a disaster.

Get ready before a landslide

Get your household ready. Work out what supplies you might need and make a plan together.

Your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group can tell you if there have been landslides in your area before.

Know the warning signs so you can act quickly if you see them. Regularly inspect your property, especially after long dry spells, earthquakes or heavy rainfall. Look for:

  • small slips, rock falls and subsidence at the bottom of slopes
  • sticking doors and window frames
  • gaps where frames are not fitting properly
  • outside fixtures such as steps, decks, and verandas moving or tilting away from the rest of the house
  • new cracks or bulges on the ground, road, footpath, retaining walls and other hard surfaces; and
  • tilting trees, retaining walls or fences.

Be alert when driving, especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.

What to do during a landslide or if you think a landslide is about to happen

Get out of the path of the landslide quickly.

Evacuate if your home or the building you are in is in danger — take your grab bag and pets with you if you can do so quickly.

Warn neighbours and help others if you can.

Contact emergency services and your local council.

What to do after a landslide

Stay alert for future landslides.

Stay away from the landslide area until it has been properly inspected and authorities give the all clear.

Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

Re-plant damaged ground as soon as possible. Erosion caused by the loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

Help others if you can, especially people who may need extra help.

If your property is damaged

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company.
  • Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claim.

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