28 Jun 2015

Civil Defence in touch with cut off rural homes

6:02 pm on 28 June 2015

Civil Defence in Whanganui says it is in touch with every rural home cut off by last weekend's devastating floods.

The city has extended a local state of emergency for a second week as the clean-up continues.

Acting Civil Defence controller Rowan McGregor said they were still pumping water from people's homes along Anzac Parade in the city, and were bringing in a rubbish truck to take away rotting food.

He said they were also in close contact with rural homes that had been cut off by the floods.

"We know who they are, where they are, what assistance they do need. Everyone in the rural area has been given any forms to full out for different types of assistance - we have the rural support trust available for them."

Mr McGregor said more rain expected later this week could worsen the state of some rural roads.

"Rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday which could be quite heavy, so we have very fragile infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas where the drains are still all blocked and the culverts are blocked, the roads will struggle if we get heavy rain."

Meanwhile, the MP for Whanganui Chester Borrows said a week on from the region's worst flooding, only a small part of the city remained affected.

Civil Defence said most of the 120 houses on the worst-hit street were still unsanitary and unsafe.

Mr Borrows said while the volume of water was not as great as in previous floods it was very fast-moving, scouring out large parts of the riverbank.

He said many things are likely to be considered as options for mitigating future flooding.

"You could build higher stopbanks, change some water courses continuing to do more around getting rid of loads out of rivers, trying to re-route some roads. But all of that is incredibly expensive."

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main extended the local state of emergency until Saturday 4 July.

The seven-day extension would give Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management continued powers under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 to enter premises, close roads and carry out inspections.

It would also give Civil Defence legal powers required to safely manage the emergency.

However the the extended state of emergency will be reviewed daily and possibly lifted early next week.