Landslides

Do you know what to do in the event of a landslide? Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, what to do when it happens and also what to do after the event.

Landslides are a serious geological hazard throughout much of New Zealand. A landslide is the movement of rock, soil and vegetation down a slope. Landslides can range in size from a single boulder, or a rock fall to a very large avalanche of debris with huge quantities of rock and soil that can be spread across many kilometres.

If there has been an earthquake or significant rainfall over an extended period of time, be alert when driving especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.

Some other signs that indicate the ground is moving include:   

  • Sticking doors and window frames
  • Gaps where frames are not fitting properly
  • Decks and verandahs moving or tilting away from the rest of the house
  • New cracks or bulges on the ground, road or footpath
  • Leaning trees, retaining walls or fences
  • Water springs, seeps or waterlogged ground in areas that are not usually wet
Pro Tip!

If you think a landslide is imminent  ACT QUICKLY!

 Getting out of the path of a landslide is your best protection.

  • Evacuate immediately and take your Getaway Kit with you.
  • Take your pets with you and move livestock to safe paddocks if you can safely do so.
  • Contact emergency services and your local council to inform them of the hazard.
  • Warn neighbours who might be affected and help those who may need assistance to evacuate.
  • Stay Informed! Keep updated on weather forecasts, traffic and travel information (including road closures).

Getting ready before a landslide will help reduce damage to your home and business and help you survive.

Heavy rain, floods or earthquake shaking can cause a landslide. Human activity, such as removal of trees and vegetation, steep roadside cuttings or leaking water pipes can also cause landslides. Most landslides occur without warning so it’s important to understand the risk, be prepared, recognise the warning signs and act quickly.

  • Plan ahead! Make a plan with your family, friends and neighbours.
  • Find out if you live in or regularly travel through an area that is susceptible to landslides. While there is little to no warning of landslides, if there has been a strong earthquake or a significant period of heavy rainfall then this may mean that the risk is heightened.
  • Prepare a Getaway Kit! Prepare for if you have to leave home in a hurry by putting together a getaway kit and important documents. When you make your plan think about where your family will meet and if neighbours need assistance.
  • Consider preparing a Getaway Kit for your vehicle.
  • Stay informed! Know how you will stay updated before, during and after an event.
  • If you plan on travelling check, for traffic and travel.

Act quickly. Getting out of the path of a landslide is your best protection. 

  • Evacuate and take your Getaway Kit with you. Take your pets with you and move livestock to safe paddocks if you can safely do so.
  • Warn neighbours who might be affected and help those who may need assistance to evacuate.
  • Contact emergency services and your local council to inform them of the hazard.

If there has been a landslide, your property may be impacted and it may not be safe to stay home. If it is safe, your utilities might be impacted or access to and from your property. It is important that you and your family stay safe and are able to take care of yourselves.

Keep in mind that further landslides may occur. If there has been an earthquake there may be aftershocks. If there has been a sustained period of heavy rain, the earth may be saturated and still unstable and there may be more rain ahead.

  • Stay away from affected sites until they have been properly inspected and authorities give the all-clear.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities and suppliers.
  • If your property or contents are damaged take notes and photographs when it is safe to do so. Contact your insurance company and if you are renting, inform your landlord if there is damage to the rental property.
  • Your main water supply may be contaminated and other utilities like power and gas may be affected.
  • There may be road closures as a result of slips. It is important that you adhere to the instructions of officials and detours that might be put in place. These are put in place for your safety.
  • Stay Informed! Keep updated on weather forecasts, traffic and travel information (including road closures).
  • Know where to go for information and which local radio stations to listen to.
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