28 Apr 2011

Hawke's Bay residents evacuated after heavy flooding

10:46 am on 28 April 2011

Rain is continuing to fall in Hawke's Bay as dozens of displaced families spend the night away from their homes due to heavy flooding.

About 80 people were evacuated from the coastal towns of Waimarama, Ocean Beach, Te Awanga and Clifton on Tuesday night and early on Wednesday.

The worst-affected area was the coastal settlement of Te Awanga, near Hastings, where 35 people were evacuated from houses and the local camping ground.

The Army picked up another 20 people from the nearby Clifton motor camp. Civil Defence also evacuated 22 residents from Waimarama southeast of Hastings and four from Ocean Beach.

Two people were flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital - a woman who went into labour after being 10 days overdue, and a 71-year-old man who needed dialysis.

A spokesperson for the Hastings District Council, Paul Evans, says rain is still falling late on Wednesday night and emergency services are closely monitoring the region for further flooding.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council says there is no road access to 11 coastal communities.

In Waimarama, residents have been told to boil drinking water and conserve the battery on their mobile phones as landlines are fragile and the power is out.

The electricity also remains off to about 200 people in settlements east of Waipukurau.

MetService says the rain should keep falling until early to mid-afternoon on Thursday, with between 70 and 100 millimetres forecast for Hawke's Bay.

A decision will be made on Thursday on whether those evacuated can return to their homes.

Bridge damaged

Severe damage to a bridge near Waimarama means residents will be isolated until a temporary bridge is erected.

Inspector Dean Clifford says council contractors are also working hard to clear slips in the region and urges people who have been cut off to stay put if possible.

The Fire Service says it had at least 48 weather-related callouts in the region overnight on Tuesday, with downed power lines, fallen trees and roofing iron ripped off homes.