Lower Hutt update: Man says he won't evacuate from flooding because of looters

By Melissa Nightingale

A stretch of about 12 houses were evacuated along the Lower Hutt's Riverside Dr, with three people needing assistance from authorities.

Most had got out unassisted, and the Hutt City Council had set up an evacuation centre at the Walter Nash Stadium, where four people had been looked after - two elderly people and their two carers.

A council spokeswoman said they had now returned home, after waters from the flooded Waiwhetu Stream began to recede.

"The forecast is light rain easing to a few showers, there's been some rain in the Tararua Range, which affects the Hutt River."

She said the river had not flooded, however.

"The [flooded] riverbank car park is inside the stopbanks," she said.

But water has not breached the stopbanks.

Sightseers have been spotted along the Riverbank Car Park and Boulcotts Farm Golf Course, she said.

"People must stay away from waterways and avoid sightseeing."

Earlier today, a Lower Hutt man living near the flooded stream was refusing to evacuate his home due to concerns about looters.

Simon Parton was still at his Riverside Dr home this afternoon as water levels on the adjacent stream continued to rise.

Read more: Wellington cut off: State highways 1 and 2 closed due to flooding

"My wife's already gone so I'm just hanging around to make sure looters don't turn up," Parton said.

Hutt City Council is urging residents to prepapre for evacuations after the Waiwhetu Stream burst its banks. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
Hutt City Council is urging residents to prepapre for evacuations after the Waiwhetu Stream burst its banks. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

Parton was not too worried about flooding issues, as his house was "quite high", though his garage was already flooded.

His looting fears come after a Christchurch family was burgled after evacuating from their home due to the tsunami threat after yesterday's deadly quake.

Meanwhile, two more Riverside Dr residents have been spending today putting their possessions up high to protect them from floodwaters.

Carmel Russell and Stefano Tevaga stood in their living room among piles of items stacked up on chairs and tables.

Carmel Russell and Stefano Tevaga are stacking their possessions up high as floodwaters threaten their Riverside Dr home in Lower Hutt. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
Carmel Russell and Stefano Tevaga are stacking their possessions up high as floodwaters threaten their Riverside Dr home in Lower Hutt. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

Russell said they would think about evacuating later, if the water started coming over the stopbanks.

Yesterday was spent preparing their home, and putting together emergency supplies in case they needed to evacuate.

They did not have bags of supplies prepared before the earthquake, and Russell said the 7.5 shake was "a bit of a wake-up call".

Tevaga said they were feeling "on edge".

"We're still in preparation mode," he said.

Russell noted the irony in the situation saying for earthquakes they would need to move all their possessions low to the ground to protect them from damage, but for floods they had to move them high up.

"Mother nature, she's being testing, isn't she?"

Some homes along the stream already have water spilling into their yards through fences, while other homes have rainwater creating pools on their lawns.

- NZ Herald

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