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More Than 100 Homes Still Empty As More Rain Predicted

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, June 5 NZPA - People in the eastern Bay of Plenty area are preparing for more heavy rain in the next 24 hours as more than 100 water-damaged houses still stand empty and unfit to live in after flood waters swept through them in the last few days.

Many of the houses in Whakatane and Ohope were badly damaged and would need extensive restoration before the occupants could move back in but many were also uninsured, said Diane Turner of the Whakatane District Council.

However, she said more heavy rain was predicted in the next 24 hours and the saturated ground would struggle to cope.

Council workers had been clearing stormwater drains and gutterings to make sure they were as prepared as they could be for the predicted holiday weekend rain.

She said a large trough of low pressure was expected bring bursts of heavy rain to many places and the council was advising people to be prepared and keep well informed on weather forecasts and conditions in their area.

"The Civil Defence emergency information 'Get Ready Get Through' on the back inside cover of the phone book was a good source of information and information was also available on the council's website," she said.

She said many people were struggling to deal with being forced out of their homes.

"For a lot of people it is absolutely devastating and they are coming to grips with the issues they are facing."

She said it was particularly tough for those who were not insured and a local fund had been started to help them with restoration work.

Many of the houses would need their internal walls relined after flood water was sucked up by the plasterboard linings. Many would also need work on their electrical wiring to make them safe before they could be lived in again.

People forced out of their homes included some on low incomes, benefits and the elderly but all had found temporary accommodation as they waited for their homes to be repaired.

"It is really hard to image what it is like having mud going though you house."

Ms Turner said if people were in a life-threatening situation, if their houses were flooded of if they needed to be evacuated, they should dial 111.

To report road closures, conditions, slips, stormwater and sewerage problems they should ring the council.

She said people should also listen to the local radio station for updates, stay at home, stay off the roads and look after their neighbours.

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