Hundreds of tourists stranded in New Zealand as storm batters much of the country

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Hundreds of tourists in New Zealand were left stranded on Friday after a strong storm damaged roads, uprooted trees and felled power lines.

Former Tropical Cyclone Fehi this week has brought heavy rain that flooded the southern city of Dunedin and west coast town of Buller, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency and ask people not to travel by road.

New Zealand authorities said the adverse weather has damaged a major road around Haast, 426 km (265 miles) northwest of Dunedin, leaving hundreds of tourists stranded in the town.

"There are at least 600 tourists in Haast and we are undertaking a welfare assessment of their needs," Westland District Council said in an emailed statement.

Authorities said work on repairing the damage was underway but were unable to say when the tourists would be able to see the small costal town.

New Zealand's weather forecaster Metservice said on Friday the storm was moving southeast, providing some relief to the country's west coast, which has been hardest hit by the heavy rain and strong winds.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry)

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