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Southland farmers urged to seek help

This is an official message from Emergency Management Southland.

Southland farmers affected by the recent flooding are being reminded that support is available from various sources, including MPI, Emergency Management Southland, the Rural Support Trust, and industry organisations.

“Our priority is for farming families to remain safe, which starts with boiling drinking water for at least one minute if there has been any surface flooding near a farm water supply,” said Emergency Southland Controller Bruce Halligan.

If any houses on a farm – either the family home or staff accommodation – have been affected by floodwater they should be assessed by Emergency Management Southland (phone 03 211-5446). If floodwater has caused contamination temporary accommodation may be needed. Farming families should also make contact if they have any difficulty getting fresh food, water, or fuel, or if they are concerned about a neighbour or friend.

The Rural Support Trust is also contacting farmers in priority areas to ask how they are coping. If farmers need additional or urgent support they should contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254. The Trust is coordinating the industry response and is based at the ECC in Invercargill alongside Emergency Management Southland.

There has also been a focus on animal welfare and young stock that is particularly vulnerable should be shifted to a more accessible area in case they need assistance, supplementary feed or veterinary treatment. MPI are ready to help on 0800 00 83 83.

“There may have been damage to your farms but again the priority is safety.

"Don't venture out to assess damage until it is safe to do so. Once you have had a chance to assess any damage, lodge your insurance claim as soon as you can, even though you may not have all the information.”

Remember to take notes and photos of all damage and any broken or perished items you throw out. If you need to effect emergency repairs, take photos then do so, but call your insurer before carrying out non-essential repairs.

Support is also coming from Federated Farmers which is assisting with the relocation of dairy cows. Farmers can register on the Feds website if they need help to move dairy stock, or else have capacity to take dairy stock. Federated Farmers is also organising the Great Southern ‘Farmy Army’ to help farmers clear debris off fences, out of cow sheds, and off tracks, working with MPI and other agencies.

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