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Civil defence emergency remains in place

Civil Defence Organisation

21 July 2004

The state of civil defence emergency remains in place in the Opotiki District until the results of a full assessment of roads and slip sites have come to hand.

Efforts are still underway to clear the roads and establish the safety of land and buildings and Scientists from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences and engineers are out checking the area by air and road to ascertain damage and identify any further risk areas.

Civil Defence Controller, Mayor John Forbes says there are still many areas where slips and roads are unstable and flooding has not subsided and extreme care is needed.

“Things are not yet back to normal and you can never be sure what is around the corner. Our experts are doing what they can to get the roads back into condition and workers and equipment are out there on the roads in all sorts of concealed places as is water, mud stock and who knows what. Residents are asked to restrict travel unless absolutely essential and to drive with caution at all times.

“The Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 enables certain actions to be taken which would not otherwise be possible. The closing of state highways and opening of access to isolated areas, commissioning of air lifts for emergency purposes and making referrals to government support agencies are examples of where Opotiki Civil Defence Organisation has used the powers of the Act. Until such time as the Civil Defence Team is reasonably sure the situation is stabilised and sustainable the state of local emergency will remain in place,” says Mayor Forbes.

The Coast road remains closed with a 60 metre section of Maraenui Hill affected by deep cracks and partial subsidence. Geologists have examined the area and it is unlikely the road will be opened. An emergency by-pass of the affected area is being opened through the old Maraenui Road. This road will cater for light emergency vehicles only through daylight hours and is expected to be completed by tomorrow night. In the meantime emergency medical supplies are being flown into Te Kaha and some essential items into Waihau Bay.

State Highway 2 at Waiothi Beach is still closed and it is expected to be cleared to one-lane access for heavy vehicles by tomorrow. The detour around the affected area via Verralls Road has been compromised by some subsidence. It remains open for light vehicles and restricted travel from 6.00 am to 6.00pm. Wainui Road is open only to essential travel as is Waimana Road to Whakatane which is also subject to non-notified closure and delays, Waiotahi Valley and other local roads are expected to be opened within the next two days.

Four homes in Bryans Beach, two on the slip top at Ohiwa Loop Road and one in Waiotahi have been severly affected by slips and at this stage six homes are to be further assessed by the Earth Quake Commission to see what assistance may be required. A Mayoral Relief Fund has been established and people who have urgent concerns should contact Donna Young at the Opotiki District Council on (07) 315 6167.

A review of the situation will be conducted at 9.00 am tomorrow morning.


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