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Flood response continues across Tairāwhiti

Friday 5 November 2021 - Update No3

More than 600 contractors and Council staff are out across Tairāwhiti checking roads and properties to assess the damage after the region was hit by torrential and persistent rain that saw more than a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours.

MetService are reporting 174mm at Gisborne Airport in the 36 hours to 4pm on Thursday which is almost 3 times the 65mm average rainfall for November.

“Rain has continued to fall overnight but nowhere near the amount we saw yesterday,” says Tairāwhiti Civil Defence group controller Dave Wilson. “We will be watching very closely what happens over the next 24-36 hours. More rain is forecast and we need to keep an eye on what impact that has on an already sodden region.”

Teams were out at first light to assess the damage, and while much of the surface water has dropped overnight the city rivers are very full. Horticulture crops have been impacted by the weather but just how badly is still being assessed.

There are a number of slips around the region too, with Council teams inspecting properties to ensure they are safe.

Council building services manager Ian Petty says in 32 years this is the worst weather incident he has seen and he is preparing for some “tough” conversations with homeowners today. “The ground is sodden and more rain forecast, so as ground gets wetter there could be more land movements.”

All those who evacuated yesterday stayed with friends and whānau. Council assisted with the evacuation of six families. Most of the power across the region has been restored.

“We are asking people to stay home,” says Mr Wilson. “There is damage to the roads, but just how bad that is, is still being assessed.”

In response to calls to Council’s 0800 number Police, FENZ, Council and the Defence Force went street by street through Tamarau, Kaiti, Sponge Bay and Gaddums Hill areas checking on households.

People are being asked to report any road damage to ensure contractors can prioritise repair work. SH 35 was shut due to a fallen tree but is now open.

The state of emergency is in place for seven days but assessed daily. Welfare centres are open at The House of Breakthrough and Salvation Army, Te Poho o Rawiri Marae on standby.

The CDEM Emergency Coordination Centre is in full swing with all emergency services in attendance and working together to ensure the community are safe.

Keep an eye on the Council website and the Council and CDEM Gisborne Facebook pages for the latest of information.

“Anyone needing help shouldn’t hesitate to call us and we can link them with the appropriate services.”

Our number is 0800 653 800.