19/07/2018 6:00:00 a.m.
19 July 2018 - Work is continuing to ensure that life returns to normal for those affected by the severe flooding on April 29.
A Flood Recovery Office is still operating from Rotorua Lakes Council, where the welfare of affected residents remains the number one priority.
During the incident, the volume of water flowing into the Ngongotahā stream exceeded its capacity and as a result flood water spilled over its banks, flooding neighbouring properties.
It was a once in 105 year event, where 123.6mm of rain fell. There was wide-spread surface flooding across Rotorua and significant road damage.
A team of four kaiārahi (navigators) have been working closely with displaced residents, helping them with any obstacles they may face.
After the flood, the number of active insanitary notices peaked at 94 and as of last week, 81 homes are still listed to have an active insanitary notice.
In addition to helping those displaced from their homes, the team of kaiārahi are also making contact with more than 920 people who received welfare checks from the flood response team. The kaiārahi are now getting back in touch with them to make sure their recovery is progressing and 100 of those cases have been closed.
To help lift the financial burden of affected residents, the Mayoral Manaakitanga Fund was set up and so far, 39 applications for funding have been approved. More than $29,000 has been handed out to affected residents and more than $55,000 has been donated.
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and funding decisions are made by the assessment committee, which is made up of Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, Rotorua Lakes Council Community Board chair Shirley Trumper and Te Tatau o Te Arawa representative Ngahuia Hona-Paku.
The fund provides residents with a one-off hardship grant, with priority given to situations where:
- There is an extra financial burden or costs due to flooding;
- There is a family or personal crisis;
- Costs are not covered by insurance or other funds such as Work and Income New Zealand.
The assessment committee has seen a wide range of applicants, from the uninsured, under-insured to fully-insured. Typically, recipients have been using the grant to pay for things that insurance doesn’t cover including a bond for temporary accommodation, additional petrol costs, food recovery costs, replacing chattels/furniture, white wear and electrician costs to check affected appliances.
The majority of applications are from residents whose houses were issued with insanitary notices, but anyone affected by the flood can apply.
A recent Rotorua Lakes Council fundraiser saw an extra $1600 donated to the fund. The Big Brekkie was a chance for people to contribute as well as enjoy a delicious breakfast in a communal atmosphere.
The timing and location fitted well with the AM Show live broadcast from Jean Batten Square, and showed the spirit of Manaakitanga was alive and well in Rotorua.
Mayor Chadwick says it’s humbling to be on the panel, hear people’s stories and offer them some financial assistance.
“It has been very humbling to see how complicated peoples’ lives are. Such a wide range of our community has been affected from families, to the elderly and to those in business.
“For them, a little bit of money can go a long way.”
Rotorua’s storm water systems were not damaged during the event, but there was widespread damage to various roads around the district.
Rotorua Lakes Council contractors have spent several weeks carrying out remedial works. Rerewhakaaitu Road remains closed, between Brett Road and Ashpit/Yankee Road due to undermining of two bridges. Permanent repair work on the affected bridges is planned to start within the next few weeks; weather permitting.
The reinstatement of Rerewhakaaitu Road at the Onuku culvert between SH38 and Brett Road is now finished.
Temporary repairs at the Tarawera Road and Mountain Road underslip sites have also been finished but these sites are down to one lane with temporary speed restrictions whilst permanent repairs are being planned and designed. The timeline for these repairs are not yet known.
Stream remedial works have been carried out by Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff and contractors.
Mayoral Manaakitanga Relief Fund
Application forms and Terms of Reference can be found on the Rotorua Lakes Council website, rotorualakescouncil.nz/floodrecovery
Details for donations
Account name: Mayoral Manaakitanga Relief Fund
Account number: 02-0412-0234516-006
How: Direct Credit or in person at Rotorua Lakes Council building
Details: No specific statement details are needed
Givealitte: Visit givealittle.co.nz and search ‘Mayoral Manaakitanga Relief Fund’