03 May 2018
The focus remains on locating affected residents, property and infrastructure to help develop an effective Recovery Plan, with welfare teams and building inspectors out today.
Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre is continuing to develop the wider picture of the situation following the storm that has devastated pockets of the Rotorua district, including Ngongotahā.
Acting Civil Defence Primary Controller Bruce Horne says an emergency welfare team is trying to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, but it is taking time.
“Emotions are evident now as grief and the reality that the recovery will be a long process sets in – it’s important they spend adequate time with people to help get a clear understanding of their needs and ensure they get the help and advice they require.”
Building inspections began today, with 45 residential properties in Ngongotahā needing to be inspected.
Outside of Ngongotahā, building inspections have been carried out including in Ruihi Street.
While the Council is aware that some commercial properties in the city have suffered damage, it does not yet have the exact numbers and none have directly approached Council for help.
The council is also working with the Ministry of Primary Industries to assist rural communities affected.
So far, at least two residential properties in Reporoa are likely to require building inspection, one in Rerewhakaaitu and one in Paradise Valley, however these numbers are expected to grow as more information comes to hand.
“It is really important for people who are affected to contact Council and register – even if they don’t need help right now. They may do in the future.”
Roading crews are still working to stabilise damaged roads, especially at Tarawera and Rerewhakaaitu. Tarawera Road remains at one lane.
At Rerewhakaaitu the bridge is affected but there are alternative routes.
Work is continuing cleaning up Western Road and associated side streets, with road sweeping in place. This includes clearing storm water drains.
Council is continuing to send out information from other agencies Insurance Council, EQC and Toi Te Ora Public Health.
There are a lot of people who want to help and a co-ordinated volunteer army will be part of the recovery phase – at the moment the council is still in response mode – but that needn’t stop people from helping now.
There are some wonderful stories about neighbours and communities banding together to help each other – the likes of Trinity Church and Ngongotahā businesses providing food and support, the Ngongotahā Rugby Club mucking in to do the heavy work and neighbour helping neighbours.
Mr Horne is urging people to contact 07 348 4199 or 0800 020 001 if they need help or have questions.