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Long road to recovery

SMW 2808

Wairoa is slowly starting to rebuild in the wake of the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little has been working with a volunteer clean up group and said the devastation from the weather event is horrific.

“Our people are suffering. Some whānau have lost everything, it is heart-breaking. I have been shocked at the extent of the damage and loss that I saw. People have lost homes and their livelihoods, it is just devastating. Our hearts also go out to our regional neighbours in Napier, Hastings and Tairawhiti and other parts of the country that have been affected by this terrible disaster. We are overwhelmed with aroha for our Hawke’s Bay whānau who are reeling from the loss of lives of their loved ones. Kia Kaha.”

Emergency Management Minister the Hon Kieran McAnulty visited the storm ravaged town on Friday and told the Mayor he understands Wairoa’s needs, and particularly the challenges around geographical isolation.

“Cyclone Gabrielle is a national emergency and while the Minister was only in Wairoa for a short time, he was able to see our pain and assured me we will be looked after. He told me he will stay in touch, and he was impressed with Wairoa’s Emergency response to date.

“Over the last few days, while we haven’t fixed all our priority issues, we have made some progress around our wellbeing priorities such as fuel, food, connectivity, roading and water.

Our volunteer group has mobilised and more people are joining in to help with the clean-up.

“People in our community are so strong, they are just getting on with what they need to do. However, we are also very vulnerable, and we need financial assistance.

“The best news we have had this week was a $100,000 donation from Affco. I was overwhelmed when Affco Chief Executive Officer Nigel Stevens told us he wanted to make a donation towards Wairoa’s recovery. Affco is a huge part of our community and we are so grateful they have started our recovery fund. Affco’s donation was quickly followed by a pledge of $50,000 from Rocket Lab. We are so appreciative to these two businesses which have reached out to support us and we hope more support will follow.

“The financial cost to our community will be enormous. We have now launched a Wairoa Givealittle page.

Caption: Wairoa Mayor Craig Little with Emergency Management Minister the Hon Kieran McAnulty who flew into Wairoa on Friday.

18 February 2023

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