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Precautionary evacuation of Tokomaru Bay underway

Thursday 23 February, 2023

A precautionary evacuation is underway for 64 homes in the Mangahauini River catchment and Tokomaru Bay township.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Controller Ben Green says with the rain forecast for tonight there is an immediate risk of the failure of the debris dam upstream of the township.

“The incoming rain amplifies the risk given the ground is very unstable and saturated following the damage done by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The community is being evacuated to local marae or to stay with whanau in areas outside of the Mangahauini River catchment.

“Our Civil Defence team on the ground in Tokomaru Bay went door to door this afternoon. The safety of our people is paramount.

“We are bringing in experts to assess the dam site and provide options that might alleviate the risk.”

The evacuation is supported by Tairāwhiti CDEM and the Police.

Mr Green says a community hui will be held at the Tokomaru Bay club rooms at 6pm tonight.

“We want to make sure everyone stays well-informed and that this evacuation is well-managed.”

Roadblocks have also been set up to stop access to areas of concern around Mangahauini River catchment and Tokomaru Bay.