1 Jun 2010

Flood-hit Whakatane sets up evacuation centre

9:53 pm on 1 June 2010

Parts of the Auckland region, the Coromandel, Waikato and Bay of Plenty were hit by extensive flooding today.

The Whakatane District Council has set up an evacuation centre as floods cause havoc in the region.

The public information manager at the council, Coral Hair, is advising people to stay at home and off the roads - a number of which are closed and dangerous.

Ms Hair says 30 people have had to leave their homes but she expects that number to rise.

Flooding forced the closure of State Highway 2 between between Otamarakau and Matata ; contractors have been brought in to clear slips and debris, and police are advising motorists to avoid all non-essential travel in the area.

Help available if you have to leave home

An emergency management centre has been set up in Whakatane and there's an evacuation centre at the War Memorial Hall for anyone driven out of their home by the flooding.

The local council says anyone who needs help can contact the council and it will send someone in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The fire service say it has been inundated with calls in the Whakatane region where flooding has caused people to evacuate their homes.

A spokesperson says they have attended 40 calls so far, and still have another 70 to go.

Auckland shops cop some of it too

The Fire Service says Clarks Beach was the worst affected in the Franklin district, with five homes flooded.

Two houses in the Manukau Peninsula were flooded.

In Auckland, houses in Mt Roskill and Epsom were flooded, as were shops in One Tree Hill, a supermarket in Otahuhu, the Southdown industrial park and several commercial premises.

Elsewhere, a garden shed was torn apart by high winds in Te Aroha and firefighters had to pump water out of houses in Whitianga.

Family had to be rescued from car

In Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, several properties are badly flooded and a family had to be rescued from their car on Oceanbeach Road.

Coromandel Peninsula dodged the worst of the flooding thanks to the timing of low tide.

Whenuakite School closed about an hour early so buses and four- wheel-drives could cross a ford to Cook's Beach and Hahei.

Elsewhere, water levels receded as quickly as they rose, including State Highway 25 at Tairua - which had been at bonnet level.