Northland faces lengthy recovery

By Cassandra Mason

Heavy rain and high winds brought flooding and damage to Northland this week. Photo / Dean Purcell
Heavy rain and high winds brought flooding and damage to Northland this week. Photo / Dean Purcell

In the wake of one of the longest and most damaging storms to hit in years, Northland must now turn its attention to repairing key infrastructure.

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Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, said with the worst of the storm over, officials could finally start assessing a "lengthy" recovery phase, including the restoration of power, roading, sewage treatment and water.

Meeting pressing welfare needs for people cut off by flooding or without power for several days was also a priority.

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"The atrocious weather, scale of the flooding and wind damage and the associated road closures, telecommunications difficulties, power cuts and problems getting choppers up over the past few days mean today is the first real chance for authorities to get a first-hand look at the bigger picture."

The Far North had been the hardest hit, with about 1600 homes still without power at 1pm today, Mr MacDonald said.

"Agencies are also visiting flooded communities in the Bay of Islands, Whangaroa and Hokianga areas and offering help to households that are still without power."

Mr MacDonald said the impacts of the storm would be felt for some time.

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Where to get help

* A welfare centre has been set up in Te Punawai Trust Christian Centre in Moerewa, where flooding had forced nearly a dozen households to evacuate. People who need help can contact the centre on (09) 404 1274 or 268 1231.

*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 on 0800 920 029.

* A similar service in Whangarei can be reached on 0800 932 463.

- APNZ

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