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Residents reoccupy homes in south-western area of Edgecumbe

Media Update No: 17 11.00am Date: 10 April 2017

Residents reoccupy homes in south-western area of Edgecumbe

· Residents with properties in the south-eastern section of Edgecumbe – Hydro Road, Nikau Place, Miro Place and Konini Place – were able to return to their homes from 8.00am Monday, 10 April. Approximately 46 properties are involved. All have an available water supply (a boil waqter notice applies), but no wastewater service at this time. This means no water should be going down the drain. This includes not flushing toilets, using showers, or sinks, until further notice. Portaloos have been located round the neighbourhood to provide for sanitary needs. The wastewater pump station for the area is expected to be pumped out today and work is continuing to restore operation of the town’s wastewater treatment ponds. The cordon on Awakeri Road has been moved west to the bridge to allow access to the reoccupied area.

· The Whakatāne District Council aims to reopen further areas of the town which have not been subject to flooding in the coming days. Further details may be available later today.

· Residents from more than 300 properties which have not been flooded were able to get assisted access to their properties yesterday, to check on the condition of their houses and pick-up essential items. This hugely successful process has seen assisted access provided for some 600 people.

· Assisted access arrangements for people whose homes are not flooded is continuing today. Access remains difficult to some areas and residents are asked to be patient. As soon as they can get through, they will get through. Accreditation processes are underway at the Project Edgecumbe contact centre in Awakeri and at the Kawerau and Whakatāne evacuation centres.

· Flood affected residents whose homes are damaged who have not yet registered their details with the Whakatāne District Council are urged to call its free phone number, 0800 306 0500.

· The ponded water in Edgecumbe continues to diminish, as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council pumping activities proceed. This work includes running 17 pumps, 24 hours a day to move flood waters out of Edgecumbe. The combined pumps are discharging 5,000 litres per second which translates to 0.4 million cubic metres water per day. Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s flood response team are focused on managing the movement of water, pumping out Edgecumbe and checking flood defences to determine what emergency works need to be done, given the possibility of a further weather event on Thursday and Friday this week. The pumping process is expected to continue through the Easter weekend. The pumps are jointly supplied by the Regional Council, Federated Farmers and other councils from across the North Island.

· The main breach in Edgecumbe is secure. The breach of the Whakatāne River stopbank at Rewatu Road was minor in comparison and work to close this is expected to be finished today or tomorrow.

• The Edgecumbe township remains cordoned off to ensure public safety while flood waters are being managed and pumped away, and to protect people from sanitation risks associated with sewage system failures and surface water contamination. The cordon will potentially shrink further in coming days as more areas are opened up for reoccupation.

When can you go back to your home?

· Access may not be possible for some people for up to 10 days

· More people whose homes were in areas that were not severely affected may be able to reoccupy their homes over the coming days

· Assisted access will be provided for other residents as soon as it can be safely accomplished.

Process (for these people to register for controlled access to their homes)

· 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.

Drop-in Sessions

Drop-in sessions were held today and will continue as required to enable displaced residents to speak with someone one-on-one and get information about their specific circumstances.

Schools and early learning centres

· Ministry of Education representatives are in the area today to support parents with school and school holiday arrangements. They will be located at the Civil Defence centres operating at Whakatāne (War Memorial Hall) and Kawerau (Rautahi Marae).

· 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.

Boil water notice

· The following areas are advised to boil water rapidly for 1 minute before drinking, due to the risk of contamination from flood waters. these areas are: Tāneatua, Rūātoki, Rangitaiki Plains (including Te Teko/Mapou, Edgecumbe, Awakeri, Braemar, Onepu, Otakiri and Thornton).

Farmers who are milking and are not using boiled water for plant and silo CIP (cleaning in process) please follow instructions from your dairy company or the procedures for dealing with boil water notices in your risk management programme (if any).

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) recommends that farmers use products approved for farm dairies, Sodium Hypo Chloride in the final rinse.

Examples of these products are:

· XY12 Ecolab

· Grade Right FIL.

The mix requirements are 5mls per 100 litres of water. This is the same regime that farmers that are on water exclusion follow.


· 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.

Road closures/re-opened

· Gow Road near Edgecumbe is now open

· Papuera to Ruatahuna Road now open

· Waikaremoana Road (Whakatane side) open

· Matahi Valley Road open with caution up to Lions Hut and closed beyond Lions Hut.

· The road has been opened up between Minginui and Murupara

· Please take care if driving along these routes

· For updated road closure information is available on the Whakatāne District Council website.


· We are aware that people want to kindly donate small goods and food, just to reinforce our Welfare and evacuation centres do not require any donated goods.

· We are only able to manage financial assistance at this stage.

· We are aware that there are people in the community who are taking donated small goods and food, this is not being coordinated through the Welfare and evacuation centres.

· 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

Kerbside Rubbish/Recycling Collections

· Normal scheduled kerbside collections will continue to all areas that can be accessed.

· For affected areas only, any properties that have been missed can place extra rubbish out in bags by their bins on their next normal collection days.

· Matahī Valley will be serviced on Thursday.


For further media information, please contact the Whakatāne Public Information Manager on 021 655 163 or email eoc.operations@whakatane.govt.nz

The next media update is scheduled for 8am tomorrow.

Other key messages for residents are:

· Emergency Civil Defence Centres have been set up in Whakatāne (War Memorial Hall) and Kawerau (Rautahi Marae – Onslow Street) to accommodate displaced residents. It may be up to some days before some people will be able to return to their homes to assess the damage.

· Tāneatua’s water supply reservoir is low and residents have been asked to conserve water wherever possible, until water treatment operations resume.

· Welfare and evacuation centres do not require any donated goods. Offers of food, clothing and other items can be made by calling the Council on 306 0500. They will take details and connect donations with people if required.

· The Te Teko/Otakiri Road intersection is flooded and impassable. Police have installed a new cordon on the corner of Powell and Te Teko Roads to prevent traffic from entering Edgecumbe from the south and are asking people to avoid travelling into Edgecumbe from any direction.

Further information

· Whakatāne District Council Facebook: www.facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil

· Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Civil Defence Facebook: www.facebook.com/bopcivildefence

· Bay of Plenty Regional Council Facebook: www.facebook.com/boprc

· IXX FM: 90.5FM

Key additional messages:

· To report road closures, slips, stormwater and sewerage problems dial the Council on 3060500

· To find the location of welfare centres dial the Council on 3060500 or go on the Council’s website at www.whakatane.govt.nz or Facebook page Facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil

© Scoop Media

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