Continued heavy rain is now having a significant impact on the already saturated Wairoa district.
After more than a week of rain there are significant slips and road closures throughout the district, surface flooding in town and some people self-evacuating from their homes.
As at Tuesday lunchtime, around 20 roads in the district are closed with many other roads only open to single lane with caution advised. Some of the roads that are now closed had already been opened and slips have closed them again. Contractors are inspecting and repairing the rain-affected network and restoring access, but continued rain is making their efforts difficult.
SH2 and SH38 are closed again, and there is a possibility that SH2 will remain closed overnight.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the initial rain event from last week had an impact, but this continued weather bomb on a water-logged district is causing significant issues. A weather watch remains in place for the Wairoa district.
“Hundreds of mm of rain has fallen over the past week with particularly high rainfalls in Tiniroto, Ruakituri, Marumaru and Mangapoike.
“Many farms are totally isolated, and farmers are contending with massive slips, access issues and damaged fences on their farms.
“In town there is major surface flooding with some people self-evacuating and Council and emergency services on standy-by. Residents, particularly those in North Clyde are being urged to please be prepared that they may have to leave their home if floodwaters continue to rise.”
Council has stood up its welfare function which will assist people if they need to evacuate their homes. If you have any concerns related to flooding, please phone 06 838 7309.
Mr Little said safety is paramount. “We are doing everything we can to look after our people in these challenging conditions and ensure Council’s services, like water supply and Three Waters are operating as well as they can in these challenging conditions.
“The Wairoa Wastewater system is still under some pressure because of the high rainfall with residents asked to keep their household wastewater to a minimum and ‘don’t rush to flush’.”
Council is working closely with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in relation to the heavy rain and flooding events and urges people to please avoid all flood waters, as it is difficult to know exactly what is in flood water at any given time. Therefore, all flood water, including puddles and rivers, should be treated as contaminated. Wash your hands thoroughly if you have been in contact with floodwaters and if it enters your home, you may need to evacuate.
People should also stay away from the river until further notice, as it may be contaminated by wastewater overflow. Both authorities are continuing to monitor the situation, particularly as the heavy rain continues.
All flood water should be treated as contaminated, do not drink from, play or swim in or near floodwater which may also be hiding hazards, such as potholes/manholes and sharp objects. Do not go near manholes – Wastewater backflow may come out of these.
Mr Little also reminded people to drive to the conditions and take care on the roads, there is a considerable amount of surface flooding, and the roads are slippery and wet, and we do not know what is under the surface water.
“We recognise this weather event is having a significant impact both in town and in the country and we are doing everything we can to support our communities.
“We are working closely with contractors and providers across the district and are extremely grateful for the work of contractors, emergency services, members of the community and Council staff from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Wairoa District Council for all their efforts in managing and helping out during this weather event.”
For farmers wanting assistance phone East Coast Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.
If you and your family are affected by an emergency event, you may be able to get a Civil Defence Payment. This is currently available for people affected by flooding in the Wairoa and Gisborne Districts. You don’t have to be on a benefit to qualify for a Civil Defence payment.
For further information, please call the Work and Income general hotline 0800 559 009 or https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/.../civil-defence...
For local roading closure information please visit www.wairoadc.govt.nz/roading and the NZTA’s website for State Highway closures https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/hawkes-bay/.
If you notice any new slips, trees down, or other hazards please call the Council line, 06 838 7309 to report.
29 March 2022
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