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The Civil Defence Emergency status

The Civil Defence Emergency status was reviewed on Wednesday, 21 July 2004 and extended to Friday,

23 July 2004 at 1600 hours when the situation will be reviewed again.

The weather forecast for the Bay of Plenty is for fine weather for the next five days.

Environment Bay of Plenty has commenced emergency repair work to close the breach in the Rangitaiki River stopbank at Edgecumbe to stop water flowing onto the Rangitaiki Plains.

The Matata Straight is now open but may be down to one lane at times during the day. State Highway 2 at Waiotahi is open and people are advised to take care around slips. State Highway 2 at Waimana Gorge is closed as is the section between Edgecumbe and Western Drain Road. State Highway 38 Murupara to Te Whaiti and Ruatahuna is closed but there is access between Ruatahuna and Wairoa for 4x4 wheel drive vehicles.

Sixteen local roads in the Whakatane District are closed by flooding or slips (refer to updated list of roads attached).

Inspectors have made a rapid assessment of properties endangered by landslips and suggest eight houses in West End and one house in Cliff Road are unsafe or potentially unsafe. These properties require detailed geotechnical assessments which will be co-ordinated through the Earthquake Commission following receipt of claims from individual property owners. To initiate this process property owners should lodge a claim with their insurer.

A total of 75 dairy farms have been badly affected.

Food, medical supplies and mail have been delivered to people in the Ruatahuna area and three people with medical conditions were airlifted out. There are 25 people trapped at Ngaputahi and, depending on the state of the road, a decision will be made if they will be evacuated or a further food-drop made. About 100 people are stranded on Mataatua Road and can gain access to Ruatahuna only by horseback. The Ruatahuna School will open on Monday but will be accessible only to those pupils who can walk. Ruatahuna has power, water and telephones and there are no problems with effluent disposal.

The Army Hall at The Strand East, Whakatane, has been set up as a collection point for food and non-perishable items. This will be co-ordinated by the Ngäti Awa Social and Health Services Trust (NASH).

Insurance assessors have provided advice on “where to start” for people affected by floods.

Peter Davies, former Chief Executive Officer of Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, has commenced his duties as Recovery Manager. He is supported by two staff from the Ministry of Civil Defence.

Damien O'Connor, Associate Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Parekura Horomia, Minister of Mâori Affairs, will be in the district today.

EVACUATION UPDATE

The Evacuation Centre at the Whakatane War Memorial Hall is being dis-established and transferred to the Army Hall in The Strand East. From there it is likely that evacuees are going:

- home;
-to the Wairaka Marae; or
-to the Hokowhitu Marae.

Transport is being arranged.

ENDS

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