Region coping well despite new State Highway issue, flooding
21 Jul 2014, 11:42 AM
Northland has a new State Highway One slip to deal with and fresh flooding affected several dwellings in the south of the region, but overall it coped well with the latest the elements threw at it over the weekend.
Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says by and large the weekend weather unfolded in line with MetService forecasts, with southern parts of the region typically receiving the highest rainfall; more than 100mm in places.
It was southern areas – including the Brynderwyn Hills, now site of a new SH1 underslip – and Maungaturoto, where flooding had affected several properties, that appeared to have suffered the most significant new impacts of the weekend weather.
The region's electricity network had suffered some lightening-related outages, but power was expected to be back on for the handful of remaining newly-affected Far North customers later today.
Mr MacDonald says the NZ Transport Agency expects it could take up to a week to repair a 10-metre-long section of hill that collapsed under the highway on the Brynderwyns yesterday afternoon.
He says unfortunately, unlike another major SH1 underslip south of Kawakawa which was successfully reopened on Friday night, there's no room on the Brynderwyns for road crews to build a detour around the collapsed section.
That means traffic – including freight transport – now faces new detours on the main route into the region; north-bound motorists are being asked to use SH12 through Paparoa and Oakleigh and south-bound via Waipu and Mangawhai.
Mr MacDonald says the detours are likely to add anywhere up to 45 minutes to journeys and as with other similar detour routes, care and consideration would be needed. Given they could be used for a number of days, authorities would also need to make regular checks to ensure the alternate roads were actively managed and coping with the additional loading.
"One positive is that at this stage, the showery conditions forecast for the next few days are not expected to cause any new weather-related problems."
He says around the north, local authority and other agencies were continuing to focus on collaborative efforts to make sure welfare needs are being met, including visits to Maungaturoto today.
Three five-strong teams of Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) workers are also being appointed and will be given some initial training over the next several days before being officially deployed next week.
"Enhanced Taskforce Green is a temporary employment programme funded by the government to help regions recover from adverse events and the Northland Regional Council will employ those teams and co-ordinate their local deployment over the next three months."
Mr MacDonald says horticulturists and farmers facing significant storm-related economic losses will be among those assisted via ETFG.
Elsewhere, he says both the Far North and Whangarei continue to operate mayoral funds designed to help people from their respective districts who can apply for grants of up to $1000 to repair homes, replace damaged property or meet costs incurred as a result of the storm.
Both will give priority to those unsuccessful in getting financial help from other agencies, including Work and Income and insurance providers and say grants above $1000 may be awarded to people experiencing extreme hardship.
Both councils are also inviting donations to their funds; the Far North through any ASB Bank branch or council service centre and Whangarei through any BNZ branch, at its Customer Services in Forum North or direct to the following bank account with the reference Mayoral Relief Fund: Whangarei District Council - BNZ 02-0492-00358315-000. More information on the funds (including application forms) is available through www.fndc.govt.nz and www.wdc.govt.nz
Mr MacDonald says general recovery information is available via the Northland CDEM Group's Facebook page – www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland
Information about local district council road and State Highway closures/issues in Northland will continue to be available from the Automobile Association website via www.AAroadwatch.co.nz or the NZTA website www.nzta.govt.nz