Wairoa storm damage: Despair at extent of damage

By DOUG LAING

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A growing picture of despair and emotion is emerging in Northern Hawke's Bay as authorities learn more of the realities of the storm which burst through the area last week.
MAF Wairoa area policy agent John Moroney, a veteran of more than 50 years in farming, said it showed when more than 30 stricken farmers, in a belt from north of Nuhaka south to Mohaka, attended a meeting in Wairoa yesterday.
The meeting was called to establish what was needed to help the farmers overcome the impact of a storm which brought rainfall of over 500mm in less than 48 hours in some areas at the height of the storm.
Farmers were also updated on initial recovery plans, including Government assistance via the granting of medium-scale adverse event status to the disaster.
All had stories of major erosion and destroyed fencing and tracks, apparently most severe in the region of Waiatai and Hereheretau Rds and similar to the worst of the damage caused south of Cape Kidnappers to Blackhead in CHB after the storm crossed Hawke Bay from Mohaka to Te Awanga.
Mr Moroney said he had thought it would be difficult to access the adverse event support, because of a shortage of information. "But we know a lot more now," he said.
Mr Moroney said that having been through Cyclone Bola in 1988, early in his 28 years of farming in the Gisborne region, he was regularly asked to compare its impacts with the latest storm.
"There are pockets that are extremely bad, worse than Bola.

There are other areas that are not quite so bad."
Rural Support Trust: Phone 0800-787254, Gisborne-Wairoa co-ordinator: David Scott, phone 06 868 4840, 027 211 9941, treescapefarm@xtra.co.nz
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