THE CLEAN UP
Surf club glad to muck-in for flood-hit folk
By staff reporters
The clean-up continues in coastal communities this week, with residents mucking in to help each other dig out silt, mud and debris.
Waimarama Surf Club members were among those who joined the recovery effort, after the clubrooms were flooded with 1.5m of water.
“The water was everywhere – in the bathrooms, our first aid room, on all of the gear in the storage room,” Surf Club member Isaac Scott said.
“When we got to the club it was just like, ‘where do we start?’ – but we all came together, did our bit.”
Members then split into three teams to help other home and bach owners on Gillies Cres.
It was a long, cold day and the work was hard, but nobody complained, Mr Scott said.
“There was not a word of complaint, not even from the younger members, the mud was disgusting and probably contaminated with sewerage, but we all got stuck in,” Mr Scott said.
“We were shovelling, sweeping anything we could to make a dent in the silt.”
Director of lifeguarding Phil Harman said it was a way of giving back to the community “that has helped us so much with financial donations and support over the years”.
Among those helped were George Ashcroft and Marina Richter, whose bed and breakfast accommodation was swamped by floodwater.
“There was so much silt and mud left behind as well as personal items that had been buried,” Mr Harman said.
Teams of building inspectors were working in Waimarama yesterday checking flood-affected houses.
Yesterday morning 66 had been red-stickered, with 16 of those flooded, the Hastings District Council said. Those homes would be uninhabitable for some time.
Forty-six had problems with septic tanks, of which 25 were later cleared, allowing residents to return to their homes.
Council spokesman Paul Evans said those who weren’t sure what action to take on their property should contact Mike Skelton at the council to confirm what needed addressing.
In Te Awanga, 50 homes had been red-stickered, and building inspectors were still working in the township to check houses.
The council said allowing people to move back into their homes as quickly as possible was a key priority, and inspectors were re-checking and removing red stickers where problems had been addressed.
In Wairoa, a temporary fix restored water supply to the town’s reservoir after a pipeline was damaged in a slip behind Putahi Marae on Saturday.
Repairs to a 40m section of pipe have been going on around the clock since the damage occurred, council spokesman Tim Allan said.
“When we got to the club it was just like, ‘where do we start’”
Isaac Scott, Surf Club member
A temporary pipe put in place yesterday allowed the reservoirs to refill, before being disconnected at 3pm to allow for more permanent repairs.
Water has not been contaminated and does not need treatment, but residents were still urged to conserve water as much as possible.
Recovery Manager Des Jane said health and welfare were now the primary concerns.
“There are people who need urgent help to deal with sewerage and septic tank issues both in town and in rural areas,” he said.
“We are encouraging people to get in touch with us if they haven’t already, and we will do what we can to sort out any issues we can.”
On Napier’s Bluff Hill, residents from two homes are still unable to return after last week’s major slip.
EQC inspectors will assess the situation this week. Resident Julian Davis was among those who were able to return, but said the “monster slip” was still threatening homes two doors down from him.
He estimated the slip was about 15 to 20 metres wide at the top and said it looked to be undermining the land right up to one property.
Napier City Council’s emergency management communications officer, Monique Jeffares, said residents from 16 of the 18 evacuated homes were able to return within 24 hours.
The Earthquake Commission, which covers damage to residential property from landslips, has received 124 claims and expects that to rise substantially.
It is too early to estimate how many properties will be assessed and how long it will take but assessors are already working in the area.
The commission also covers some flood and storm damage. Spokesman Gordon Irving said EQC covered flood damage to homes and personal possessions and to some land.
The cover was restricted to the land under a home, the land within 8 metres of them and the land of the main accessway up to 60 metres from the home.
It did not cover the driveway or artificial surfaces like concrete or asphalt that covered the accessway.
EQC had not decided whether it would pull a handful of assessors from Christchurch but Mr Irving said it would not affect work in Christchurch because a large number would remain there.
Farmers can contact Rural Support East Coast, phone Mike Barham, 06 877 3930.
Homeowners who are insured will have some cover for flood and slip damage through the Earthquake Commission. EQC: 0800 326 243.
Some financial welfare assistance is available through Work and Income: 0800 559 009
Some accommodation assistance is available through Housing New Zealand: 0800 801 601
Regular updates and information are posted on council websites, and call centre staff can help with other inquiries.
Hastings District Council: (06) 871 5000; www .hastingsdc.govt.nz
Central Hawke’s Bay Regional Council: (06) 878060; www .chbdc.govt.nz
Wairoa District Council: (06) 838 7309; www .wairoadc.govt.nz
Photo captions –
SHEER DROP: Lyal Jackson’s house is precariously close to the edge of a cliff after heavy rain last week caused dirt to slip on Bluff Hill, blocking both lanes of Breakwater Rd below. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND HBT111986-07
MISPLACED BELONGINGS: Members of Waimarama Surf Club found household items swept away by floodwaters as they helped clear silt and mud from three Gillies Crescent properties on Sunday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED