Police have evacuated approximately 80 people in Levin this evening. Photo / File
Police have evacuated about 80 people from their homes in Levin tonight as they negotiate with a person in an unfolding situation.
The incident, on Bledisloe St, has seen residents from the surrounding houses sent to a welfare centre the Horowhenua District Council was using for evacuees.
In an update provided to media at about 11.20pm, police said the area was cordoned off after a report of a person threatening self-harm. Police said the evacuation of some residents was a precautionary measure.
Inspector Sarah Stewart, the Manawatu Area Commander, said a police negotiation team is talking with a resident of Bledisloe St.
“This specialist team are highly skilled and work hard to help resolve incidents without loss of life, injury, or damage to property,” Stewart said.
Bledisloe St will remain cordoned between Freyberg and Cobham Streets until the incident is resolved and police asked members of the public to avoid the area until further notice.
Stewart said she understands the incident has been distressing for residents who have been asked to leave their homes.
“We know it can be upsetting to be asked to leave your home – especially when we’re not able to say much about the incident that’s prompted this – but public safety must always be our number one priority.
“The welfare of the displaced residents is very important and we’re grateful to Horowhenua District Council staff who are assisting with temporary accommodation, when displaced residents don’t have family or friends nearby to stay with.”
Fire and Emergency NZ and ambulance staff are supporting the police-led response.
Horowhenua District Council Mayor Bernie Wanden said all of those evacuated people have now been either placed in accommodation for the night or are staying with friends.
He told the Herald it is unknown how long it will be until they are able to return home.
“We are a little in the dark, all we know is that it is a police incident and that for the safety of the community they needed to evacuate,” he said.
“It came to the realisation that the situation wasn’t going to be short, we have a number of elderly people, a number of small families and they needed some security of where they were going to spend the night.”
A message on the council’s Facebook page also urged people to follow all police instructions and stay away from the area.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.