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Flood recovery measures under way

20 May 2005

Flood recovery measures under way

Prime Minister Helen Clark is today visiting flood-ravaged communities in the Bay of Plenty.

Helen Clark said the flooding, brought on by a devastating rainstorm on Tuesday and Wednesday, was a major disaster for the region.

“Our thoughts are with all those people who have been caught up in this emergency. Houses have been destroyed, others will have to be demolished, and there has been severe damage to farms, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“Emergency services and councils have responded superbly. The recovery exercise is now under way and I commend Civil Defence, the police, the Fire Service, the army, St John ambulance units, staff from local councils and other government departments, and members of the community who have pitched in to help,” Helen Clark said.

Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins has visited the region yesterday and today to meet Civil Defence officials and speak to displaced residents. Mr Hawkins was accompanied today by Waiariki MP Mita Ririnui.

Helen Clark said Work and Income have sent extra field staff to the Bay of Plenty to ensure that people have financial assistance for essentials such as food, accommodation and bedding.

The government has also offered enhanced Taskforce Green assistance for the recovery effort.

Child, Youth and Family staff in Whakatane have prepared a database for registrations, arranged emergency clothing, and liaised with health officials to obtain medical supplies.

Housing New Zealand is working closely with Work and Income to assist those affected by the flooding. To date Housing New Zealand has assisted six private households to find temporary accommodation.

The government has contributed $25,000 to the Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty and Whakatane mayoral relief funds. It has also provided immediate financial assistance to evacuees and further funding is available through Transfund and Taskforce Green.

Thirty-four Army personnel and ten Unimog trucks are on standy to assist with recovery work.

Helen Clark said the Cabinet would discuss ongoing assistance at its weekly meeting on Monday.

ENDS

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