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More residents set to return home

More residents set to return home

Whakatāne District Council is continuing to make progress in getting people back into their homes.

From tomorrow morning at 8am, people will be able to return to their homes in north Edgecumbe - College Road north of Rata Avenue - involving around 130 homes. Access will be from West Bank Road. Wastewater, water and power are due to be back on in this area tomorrow and any updates will be published on the Whakatāne District Council website.

Earlier today residents with properties in the south-eastern section of Edgecumbe – Hydro Road, Nikau Place, Miro Place and Konini Place – started reoccupying their properties. Some 46 properties were involved and all have an available water supply, but still have limited wastewater services at this time. These residents are being provided with packs containing information on safety and health issues, such as water and wastewater use. The cordon on Awakeri Road has been moved to the bridge to allow access to the reoccupied area.

For people in Hydro Road and the streets that come off it who are allowed home, we’re asking they access their streets via Western Drain Road and McCracken Road.

Areas south of State Highway 2 at Edgecumbe will be assessed tomorrow to see if any are safe to return to.

Whakatāne District Council aims to reopen further areas of Edgecumbe that have not been subject to flooding in the coming days as soon as water supplies have been restored and areas have been declared safe by health authorities.

Weather

There is some potentially heavy rain forecast for later in the week. If there is a need for further evacuations in the Edgecumbe area, we expect to have plenty of warning.

Residents will be alerted by fire station sirens sounding continuously and by emergency services vehicles driving round with sirens on. That will be the signal to move.

Those who are back in their homes by tomorrow can register for emergency text alerts by texting WH to 2028. You should get a text back confirming registration.

Damaged properties

On damaged properties, the Urban Search and Rescue task force has today been doing rapid damage assessments of properties south of state highway 2. Building inspectors will start doing full checks in this area and through the rest of Edgecumbe tomorrow that has not already been cleared or is looking OK. That will help determine whether the homes can be lived in again. We’re working on a system for alerting people to the results of building inspections.

Assisted access is to continue where appropriate

We’re making a change to where people can register for assisted access to their properties that can’t yet be lived in but are OK to access. The reason we’re doing this is to have one single point for the delivery of consistent information.

There’ll now be a single registration centre the Awakeri Event Centre on state highway 30. It’ll be open from 9am each day.

Police are re-iterating that access isn’t intended to be for multiple visits. People are asked to get essentials on one trip rather than request to keep going back. That helps us prioritise those who haven’t had access yet.

Also bear in mind that this is a situation that can change as new information comes to hand – sometimes we’ll be able to open things up a bit quicker, sometimes things will go a bit slower than we expected.

We’ll try to ensure that information is always as up to date as possible but things can and do change.

Register

Just a reminder that 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.

Accommodation

Those people who are staying in motels and other temporary accommodation who have been asked to vacate in the coming days should contact 0800 306 0500 and give full details of their situation to our customer service staff.

A reminder of some key things

The Edgecumbe township generally remains cordoned off to ensure public safety while flood waters are being pumped away. This is a safety precaution to protect people from sanitation risks associated with sewage system failures and surface water contamination. Some residents may be away from their homes for up to 10 days.

Residents in need of animal welfare support should call 0800 306 0500.

Evacuees who have registered with the district council because they have indicated they have accommodation needs will be contacted as soon as possible. If your need is urgent call 07 306 2013 extension 7327. However, we’re encouraging people to support family and others in need.

If evacuees haven’t registered already, Whakatāne District Council encourages all evacuees in the region to register online at www.whakatane.govt.nz


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