Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Clean up, welfare issues new focus for North in storm’s wake

Clean up, welfare issues new focus for North in storm’s wake

Meeting immediate welfare needs and restoration of key infrastructure like power, roading, sewage treatment and water are the new focus for officials in Northland in the wake of one of the most long-running and damaging storms to hit in years.

Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says the storm finally gave up its grip on the region about daybreak today, when officials were finally able to begin assessing its impacts in earnest.

A predicted sting in the storm’s tail, which had delivered up to 128mm more rain to parts of Northland between 3pm yesterday and 6am today, had caused widespread flooding and road closures around the region, as well as knocking out power to hundreds more people.

Mr MacDonald says with the storm itself finally over, officials were now turning their attention to what is likely to be a lengthy ‘recovery’ phase.

That included establishing an accurate picture of the spots where resources are most urgently needed, including working to meet pressing welfare needs for those cut off by flooding and/or who had been without power for several days.

Many of the worst affected were in the Far North District, with the Whangarei and Kaipara Districts faring much better overall.

“The atrocious weather, scale of the flooding and wind damage and the associated road closures, telecommunications difficulties, power cuts and problems getting choppers up over the past few days mean today is the first real chance for authorities to get a first-hand look at the bigger picture.”

Mr MacDonald says the Far North District Council has set up a welfare centre in Moerewa, where floods have forced nearly a dozen households to evacuate in the town and at nearby Otiria. The welfare centre is at Te Punawai Trust Christian Centre (the old tavern on the corner of the Main Rd and Marshall St) opposite the BP Station. It can be contacted on (09) 404 1274 and (021) 268 1231.

“Agencies are also visiting flooded communities in the Bay of Islands, Whangaroa and Hokianga areas and offering help to households that are still without power.”

Mr MacDonald says as of 1pm today about 1600 Far North homes were still without power and about 20 Top Energy crews were out tackling more than 40 main sites with issues.

He says anyone in the Far North whose home is flooded or who urgently needs accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies should phone Far North District Council’s freephone 0800 920 029. (The Whangarei District Council has a similar service for those needing help in its district; 0800 932 463.)

Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald says also on the welfare front, the Ministry of Social Development had opened its offices in Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Kaikohe this morning but had only collectively fielded four visitors.

While the storm itself had now ended, he says its impacts will continue to be felt for some time, especially on the roading front, where dozens of local roads and a number of routes on the State Highway network are closed or are down to a single lane due to flooding, slips and other storm-related damage.

He says information about local district council road and State Highway closures/issues in Northland is available from the Automobile Association website via www.AAroadwatch.co.nz or the NZTA website www.nzta.govt.nz

Those sites contain maps and brief description of closed/affected roads and an indication of when the issue/s involved is likely to be resolved.

“However, it’s important to realise that things are constantly changing on the roading front and despite everyone’s best intentions it’s difficult to have accurate, up-to-the-minute details on closures etc.”

“Even when roads are technically ‘passable’, sometimes that only applies to trucks and 4WDs, so the best advice, probably for the rest of this weekend at least, is still for people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.”

Mr MacDonald says while it’s too early to put an accurate cost on the storm, agencies involved agree it’s one of the worst to strike the region in a number of years in terms of its impacts and the recovery would take a considerable time at an eventual cost likely to run well into the millions.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news