Northlanders show remarkable resilience

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Flood water has subsided in Moerewa and now the clean-up will begin. This photo was taken during the height of the flooding.
Flood water has subsided in Moerewa and now the clean-up will begin. This photo was taken during the height of the flooding.

Northlanders continue to show remarkable resilience as the region turns to the clean up phase in the wake of the week's storm, Civil Defence officials say.

Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, said as the recovery phase of the storm moves into its second day, welfare and infrastructural matters remain the key focus.

Mr MacDonald said in and around Moerewa, where floodwaters had forced a number of families from their homes, stoic locals, while understandably frustrated by the effects of the storm, were taking matters in their stride and looking after each other, aided by official support.

The latter included a welfare centre which had been working out of the Te Punawai Trust Christian Centre (the old tavern on the corner of the Main Rd and Marshall St) opposite the BP Station. It had closed this morning, but if required would reopen.

Far North District Council (FNDC) building inspectors were also door-knocking in the area monitoring sanitation and other issues caused by flood-related problems with septic tanks. The council was arranging for portable toilets and extra rubbish bins to be delivered to the area today.

Firefighters were also hoping to assist today with localised pumping, and depending on the availability of freshwater, washing out some flood-affected homes.

Anyone in the Far North whose home is flooded or who urgently needs accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies should phone Far North District Council's freephone 0800 920 029. (The Whangarei District Council has a similar service for those needing help in its district; 0800 932 463.

On the electricity front, Mr MacDonald says both Top Energy and Northpower had done remarkably well at restoring electricity to the thousands of customers the storm had affected. Overnight, Top Energy reported it still had about 570 customers without power and it still had some issues at areas including Rangiputa, north and south Hokianga, small areas around Opua and Peria and at Te Kao.

However, despite site access problems caused by steep and muddy terrain, the company was hoping to have most customers restored today.

Northpower too today reported good progress, with all of its major feeders restored. It was planning to use a chopper to lift a wire to a top of the Brynderwyn Hills, south of Whangarei today, which should enable the restoration of mains power to celltowers which had been operating on generators.

Mr MacDonald says the situation on the region's roads continues to change constantly and number of spots along the State Highway network, including a major slip south of Kawakawa, continued to be closed or affected by flooding, slips or other storm-related damage and roading.

While some rain is forecast tomorrow night, it is not expected to cause any new problems and the forecast for the next week was for fine weather.

- Northern Advocate

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