Ravaged coast calls for VOLUNTEER ARMY
By Heather McCracken
A “Magpie Army” of volunteers is being assembled to help the massive clean up effort in Waimarama after last week’s devastating floods.
Helpers armed with gumboots and spades will be bused to the flood zone this weekend to help flood-weary residents tackle piles of silt and debris.
The Coastal Clean Up was put together by Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, along with MPs Chris Tremain and Craig Foss, and supported by Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott.
“Hawke’s Bay residents have shown in the past they have big hearts and are prepared to support fellow residents during difficult times,” Mr Yule said.
“This is a co-ordinated effort which is designed to do the most good for Waimarama residents in a short time and help them get back on their feet quickly.”
Mr Yule said weather conditions and road access would determine whether Ocean Beach could be included in the clean up.
Mr Tremain said he hoped the Magpie Army would respond as the Student Army did following the Christchurch earthquake.
”Hawke’s Bay is a strong community and this will show the people affected by flooding that the rest of the region feels their pain and is prepared to roll up our sleeves and do something in support of the recovery effort,” he said.
The Hastings District Council will co-ordinate volunteers, and provide buses to the coastal towns on Saturday and Sunday.
Marginal road access means it would be dangerous for volunteers to make their own way.
The council is also asking for help from companies or individuals who can provide a truck. Contact Sue Sowerby on 871 5000.
To register, contact the Hastings District Council on 871 5000 or www .hastingsdc.govt.nz and follow the Coastal Clean Up link
On the day, assemble at the council building on Lyndon Rd at 7.45 am
Bring gloves, gumboots, a spade, and a drink bottle.
Food and water will be provided
The work is physically demanding and not suitable for children
Volunteers are asked not to make their own way as many roads are still dangerous.
Wall of water leaves ‘bomb site’
By Heather McCracken
Paul Wiley describes his Waimarama property as a “bomb site” after a wall of water swept through, taking caravans, trees and debris with it.
The 64-year-old was woken at 1 am on Wednesday last week by the sound of the torrent rushing through his Waitangi Rd property.
“I just heard a big roar, and a big wall of water came down with a lot of trees in front of it,” he said. “There was nothing I could do, I couldn’t get out. All I could do was wade through the water up to my armpits and get my dog and sit and wait.”
Mr Wiley’s dog, Blackie, which had been tied up outside, was struggling to keep above water.
“He was swimming but he was on a chain, and he was running out of chain.”
Neighbouring caravans, which were unoccupied, were swept away in the flood.
The water rose to just 10cm from Mr Wiley’s house, and once the water had receded, he was trapped for two days until the driveway was cleared.
His property was left covered in silt, and tools and machinery kept in a shipping container were destroyed. Only his car was insured.
“My place is a bomb site,” he said. “The place is about a metre and a half or two metres in sand and silt.
“Even the back paddock, it’s just full of silt and rubbish and debris and trees.”
Mr Wiley said it would be a long clean up for Waimarama, but he would be sticking it out. “I’m not leaving, no way.”
Photo captions –
TORRENT: Campervans were washed away when the wall of water swept through Waimarama. PHOTO/PAUL WILEY
WIPEOUT: An overhead view of the damage to the bridge leading into Waimarama township, and the general devastation in the area. PHOTO/SUPPLIED