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Levin Tornado Event Update

With the events of the weekend transitioning from response to recovery, Council’s Emergency Management function met this morning to set up a cross-functional recovery team. Aware that there are still people and properties in need of assistance, Council staff and contractors are working through the remaining requests for help.

Chief Executive Monique Davidson today encouraged her team to do what it takes to ensure people impacted by Friday’s severe weather are safe and taken care of. She talked about an example this morning where a family were without hot water amongst damage to their property, and Council through the Mayoral Relief Fund were able to deploy an electrician and plumber to help. “It may seem like this is a private matter, but the generosity of Council, Central Government and Community means that for our families most impacted we are able to make life a little easier and assist in their time of need. Obviously, our assistance will need to be aligned with the impact of the event, but if people genuinely need help, we will support them as best we can,” says Monique.

“There will be a time in the near future when we will need to discontinue the green waste and glass collection service at Donnelly Park and the Kerbside debris collection, but for now we will continue that service as there is clearly a need. Where we can, any debris that can be repurposed and given back to our community for example firewood or mulch, we’ll try our best to make this happen,” continues Monique.

Building damage

The Urban Search and Rescue team carried out Rapid Building Assessments on those buildings impacted by the severe weather event on Friday. Council Building Advisors have now assessed 15 buildings, with a priority on those that suffered the most severe damage. Eight buildings have been red stickered, deeming them uninhabitable. Of those buildings, two are commercial and six residential. Seven buildings initially classified as having moderate damage, have now been assessed and yellow stickered by Council Building Advisors. A further 20 buildings with moderate to minor damage will have assessments completed tomorrow.

Civil Defence Emergency Management Local Controller Lisa Slade says “there are some buildings that require structural integrity assessments. In those cases, we have engaged external engineers to assess the level of damage and provide recommendations on whether ongoing occupation is safe. Today, our Building Advisors have made attempts to contact all building owners that have been red stickered, but are yet to get a hold of everyone. Please get in contact with Council if this applies to you by calling 06 366 0999.”

“If your recycling wheelie bin or crate is lost or damaged as a result of Friday’s severe weather event, we will replace or repair them free of charge, please just give us a call. You might need to be patient with us though, as the building that stores some of this stock was damaged also. Depending on how many requests we receive, it may take us a bit of time to replace stock.” continues Lisa.

If you have kerbside debris waiting to be picked up, please contact Council on 06 366 0999.

Numbers at a glance

· 38 requests for assistance with cleaning up properties and removing debris

· Two dogs and three displaced cats are still being cared for by our Animal Welfare team.

· 15 buildings assessed; eight classified as uninhabitable, seven yellow stickered (meaning moderate damage but still liveable) and 20 are left to be assessed.

· Electra have confirmed all power outages which were a result of Friday’s event have been restored.

Where to get help and support

If you have been impacted by Friday’s severe weather event and have immediate welfare needs, please call Council on 06 366 0999.

If you need support or advice, or have feelings of anxiety, stress, prolonged fear, hopelessness or anger, or you just need to talk with someone, you can text or phone 1737 for free to speak to a trained counsellor.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) support

MSD is available to assist those in the community that have been directly affected by yesterday’s event. Contact MSD on 0800 559 009 and let them know you have been impacted by the tornado.

Mayoral Relief Fund

A Mayoral Relief Fund has been established, with Horowhenua District Council contributing $100,000 and Minister for Emergency Management – Kiritapu Allan confirming that Central Government would match that contribution. If businesses or individuals would like to contribute, they can donate using the following bank account – 02-0668-0070607-002 (Account name: Horowhenua District Council, ref “Relief fund”).

If you think you may qualify for financial assistance, the Mayoral Relief Fund application form and criteria will be available online and in person by midday Tuesday 24 May.

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