Thousands still without power in Bay of Plenty after Cyclone Cook

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Thousands are still without across the district. Photo/File
Thousands are still without across the district. Photo/File

Thousands remain without power across the region following last night's storm.

According to a Horizon Networks statement Cyclone Cook caused significant damage to power infrastructure supplying the Whakatane, Kawerau, and Opotiki districts.

The following areas remain without power:

-5,400 customers in areas east of Ohiwa Harbour including Waimana, Waiotahi, Opotiki, Te Kaha, and Cape Runaway.

- 2,900 customers in Otawairere, Te Teko, Awaiti, Awakeri, Tauranga Rd east of Matata, Matata, Manawahe, Ruatoki, Herepuru Rd, and Otakiri areas.

- 260 customers in Galatea north of Haumea Rd.

8,500 customers remain without power across the district although power has now been restored to Angle Rd, Thornton Highway, and Thornton Beach.

Parts of the network in areas that have been restored continue to be without power and if repairs are required they will be carried out once the core network has been restored.

Transpower have staff repairing the fault on the 110kV lines supplying Waimana, Waiotahi, Opotiki, Te Kaha, and Cape Runaway regions. They are expecting to restore the line by 4pm today.

Significant issues in the Waimana region may limit the ability to restore power to customers and also Otara Rd south of McGinley Rd.

Horizon Networks ask for the public to bear with them as there is widespread damage to
be repaired before some supplies can be restored. There are multiple reports of lines down around the district.

Meanwhile Whakatane District Council Civil Defence teams are continuing to make progress in getting people back into their homes.

All coastal evacuation areas from Matata to Ohope were reopened this morning and residents from 216 properties in the south-western area of Edgecumbe were able to go home this afternoon -most to stay.

Updates on the reopening of the remaining cordoned areas (Zone 4) will be provided this evening.

The district-wide notices to conserve water and minimise use of wastewater facilities are likely to be in place for several more days. Horizons Networks are working hard to repair power lines damaged by wind and tree-fall as quickly as possible but it will take some time and this is affecting the water and wastewater systems.

Boil water notices remain in place throughout the district.

The notice applies to residents of Taneatua, Te Mahoe, Ruatoki, Rangitaiki Plains (including Te Teko/Mapou, Edgecumbe, Awakeri, Braemar, Onepu, Otakiri and Thornton). Residents should bring water to a rapid boil for at least one minute to make it safe to drink.

A tanker of potable drinking water is on its way to Taneatua for residents to fill their own bottles from. It will be stationed at Jack Knowles Park in Taneatua by 5.30 this evening.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack is reminding people about the importance of maintaining excellent personal hygiene during this difficult time.

"The relevant practical measures include attention to frequent hand washing, safe disposal of waste and following the advice contained in any boil water notice," he said.

Edgecumbe residents have been provided with information packs as they return. An information and welfare centre has been established at Edgecumbe Hall for residents to drop in and discuss any further needs or questions they have with relevant civil defence and support services staff.

Portaloos are also onsite at the hall.

Edgecumbe residents are also being asked to temporarily cease all use of wastewater. Portaloos have been erected in Zone 3 for residents' use. A generator is on its way to the area to help the sewerage situation and bottled drinking water is available at Edgecumbe Hall.

Drinking water is currently available from a tap at the Fonterra plant and Fonterra are sending two tankers of drinking water to Edgecumbe, as an interim measure while power outages prevent residents from being able to boil their water. The tankers are expected to arrive by 4.30pm today and will be stationed at Kauri St, by the Edgecumbe Hall, Hydro Road.

Residents should bring their own containers to fill.

Whakatane District Council is asking that residents do not remove trees from public areas themselves. They are responding to reports throughout the region and encourage residents to report windfalls that need attention to Whakatane District Council on 0800 306 0500.

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