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Support for parents with school/childcare needs

Support for parents with school/childcare needs
Ministry of Education representatives will be at Whakatāne and Kawerau from tomorrow to support parents with school and school holiday arrangements.
They will be located at the Civil Defence Centres operating at Whakatāne (War Memorial Hall), Kawerau (Rautahi Marae) and Awakeri School. These centres are open from 9am – 5pm.
Parents are invited to come down and discuss their needs. The Whakatāne Emergency Response team is working closely with the Ministry and can offer support for parents wanting their children to return to school this week. They can also help with alternate arrangements for parents returning to work but keeping their children out of school, and with school holiday arrangements.
A local state of civil emergency remains in place in Whakatane and many Eastern Bay schools are affected by the Edgecumbe flood.
With the cordon still in place, the Edgecumbe schools are unlikely to be assessed until Monday at the earliest. Early signs are that the schools haven’t been badly damaged as they are on higher ground, but they will be affected by lack of services.
For a full list of schools and early childhood closures visit the Ministry of Education’s website: http://www.education.govt.nz/news/flooding-keeps-29-schools-and-38-early-learning-centres-closed/
• 1600 Edgecumbe people displaced by the breaching of the floodwall on the Rangitāiki River.
• Flood-affected residents whose homes are damaged should report them to Whakatāne District Council by calling the free phone number, 0800 306 0500.
• Whakatāne District Council encourages all evacuees to register at the Civil Defence centres.
• The breach has been plugged and is working well. No more water is flowing from the river into Edgecumbe. Construction work is continuing in this are today.
• The water is now naturally receding; however because of the volume more will need to be pumped out. Bay of Plenty Regional Council has begun pumping and this could take 7-10 days to complete.
• The Edgecumbe township remains cordoned off to ensure public safety while pumping is in progress and to protect people from sanitation risks associated with sewage system failures and surface water contamination.
• This was a significant weather event with the Rangitaiki and Whakatane/Tauranga rivers reaching the highest peak flows on record
• Due to the risk of contamination from flood waters, there is a boil water notice in effect for Tanuatua, Ruatoki and Rangtaiki Plains
• Updated Road closure information is available on the Whakatāne District Council and NZTA website.

When can you go back to your home?
• Access may not be possible for up to 10 days.
• However, people whose property was not flooded will be able to gain access to their homes for a brief period today.
• Go to the Civil Defence Centres at Kawerau, Whakatāne or Awakeri School to register.
• We will escort people into their homes on a rostered basis for 10-15 minutes.
• This is a logistical exercise so we are planning to do this at Awakeri from 10am-12midday / Kawerau 12midday-2pm / Whakatāne 2pm-4pm.
There has been good progress on animal welfare with a number of pets reunited with their owners. Whakatāne Emergency Response Team, with support from SPCA, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Massey University experts have been working together to search for animals in Edgecumbe. Residents in need of animal welfare support should call 0800 306 0500 or visit Council’s website for information.
We are aware that people want to kindly donate small goods and food. Welfare and evacuation centres do not require any donated goods. We can only manage financial assistance at this stage. An official Mayoral Fund Give a Little page has been set up for the Edgecumbe and Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) Mayoral Flood Appeal. Money raised through the appeal will be used to fund applications made to the Mayoral Relief Fund to assist people affected by this week’s flooding events. People can donate at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ebopmayoralfund

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