5 Jun 2015

Clean-up underway in Dunedin after flood

2:42 pm on 5 June 2015

The massive task of post-flood cleaning up is well underway around Dunedin, with people and businesses being relocated.

View a gallery of photos of south Dunedin on Wednesday and Thursday:

The civil defence run welfare centre at the St James Church in south Dunedin was a hive of activity today as those seeking help were guided in the right direction, and volunteers were mobilised.

On-site controller Simon Pickford and said they were in the process of helping hundreds of people as the extent of the damage to people's homes becomes clear.

"It'll be over the 150 to 100 mark, but what we will be doing is proactively contacting people, so if they haven't contacted us we will be in contact with them to make sure they are OK and if they need help we will be there for them."

Mr Pickford said they were assessing the need for the welfare centre daily and it will remain open as long as there is a need.

Nine families spent last night in temporary accommodation including motels, while an unknown number stayed with relatives after two months' rain was dumped in a single day on the city earlier this week.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said that there could be a health issue from any sewage that was pushed out of waste water pipes by stormwater.

Mr Cull said the clean up of any potentially contaminated water or site should be a priority.

He said the initial clean up would focus on getting people back into dry homes.

The longer term problems are fixing roads, clearing slips and stabilising trees, Mr Cull said.

The council said it was too soon to put a dollar figure on the cost of the damage the one-in-100-year flood caused, but said extensive repairs would have to be carried out to roads.

Police patrol flood-stricken Dunedin

Extra police patrols kept an eye out for potential looters in South Dunedin last night where many people have left their homes to escape the floods.

Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall said police would be keeping a close eye on the worst affected areas. He said unfortunately there would always be some who chose to profit from the sorrow of others.

Mr McDouall said there had been no reports of evacuated homes being broken into.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross will be busy again today helping those forced out of their homes.

Red Cross volunteer Kathleen Cosgrove said her teams were still busy evacuating elderly and disabled residents yesterday, even as the flood waters receded.

She said some were trapped by mud or debris around their homes, which made and things difficult for those with mobility issues.

Ms Cosgrove said all of the emergency services worked together well in responding to the disaster.

"It has been quite a large area that's been impacted, so we have needed quite a few people, and with the different shifts having to go through the night as well, we've needed quite a few people ready and available to go."

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