Flood Press Release 5 - 1600 Hours
Media Release 5 - 2 June 2010, 1600 Hours
The Eastern Bay of Plenty Emergency Operations Centre remains open following serious flooding in the Whakatane and Opotiki Districts. A record 101 millimetres of rain fell in two hours between 8.00pm and 9.00pm last night inundating streams and stormwater drains and flooding into homes and businesses in the district.
Some 139 people have registered at a welfare centre set up in Whakatane last night to house people who were evacuated from their homes and 11 road crews were called in to work through the night to clear slips debris and pump water from roads throughout the district. Forty people were accommodated over night.
“The intensities of the rainfall in the two hour period exceeded those of a 1 in 100 year flood,” says Whakatane District Council Chief Executive Officer, Diane Turner. “As well as rain, silt and water from flooded streams caused significant problems. It is no wonder our stormwater systems were unable to cope.”
“The Emergency Operations Centre is still receiving calls at a rate of about one a minute, down from a rate of three calls a minute last night. People are getting on with the clean up around their homes and we appreciate the help we are receiving from other councils to help with recovery activity,” Ms Turner says.
Evacuated residents returning to their homes to assess the damage and salvage what they can. Insurance Assessors and Building Control Staff have been assessing damage.
Whakatane District Council has received 165 reports of damage to homes and commercial premises and has brought in additional staff to help with the assessment of flooded or slip damaged homes and potential heath risks from flood waters before people return.
The Fire Service has received more than 300 calls reporting flooded properties and is working to wash silt from flooded homes that have been approved by insurers and building inspectors.
Roading contractors have now cleared and opened almost all blocked roads but work continues. Drivers are asked to drive with care as considerable debris, silt and water is still present and roads are reduced to one lane in many places.
Emergency services also ask that sightseers consider the privacy of affected citizens and to keep off the roads in the worst affected areas.