7 Jul 2015

Taranaki floods 'caused $12m damage to roads'

6:13 pm on 7 July 2015

Taranaki Civil Defence believes last month's severe flooding in the region caused about $12 million worth of damage to the roads alone.

It said good progress had been made in recovering from the storm that left homes cut off and farms damaged.

Waitotara Valley

Last month's flooding caused enormous damage to Taranaki. Photo: SUPPLIED

Essential services, including drinkable water, sewage systems, electricity, and communications, had either been restored or alternatives put in place.

Road access had also been reinstated to much of Taranaki with inland and eastern hill country made passable to 4WD traffic, and the upper Waitotara Valley reopened.

However Civil Defence Recover Manager Craig Campbell-Smart said bridge damage had left the small community of Waiinui Beach, with its 60 residents, more isolated.

"It's a drive through a paddock in a 4WD - and we know, with wet weather and soggy ground, it can be quite treacherous. I know the South Taranaki District Council are working on a temporary solution to shore up that bridge, so at least light vehicles, resident-only vehicles, can access [it]."

The damage to the bridge had also forced the extended shutdown of the Silver Fern Farms' Waitotara Plant, which employs 300 process workers.

Mr Campbell-Smart said they needed to find a more permanent solution to ensure access to the area.

Mr Campbell-Smart said Civil Defence was now also considering effects on farms such as stock and pasture losses, damage to fences and bridges, and animal welfare concerns.

He said it would also respond to the mental health needs of farmers and their families.

"After these events, when people are starting to wind up in terms of their immediate dealing with the issues, then obviously issues around mental health and depression start coming to the fore," he said.

He encouraged farmers to look out for their neighbours and support each other.