Extra aid will be available to flooding victims of Cyclone Debbie in the Bay of Plenty.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today classified the damage as a "medium-scale adverse event", meaning additional recovery assistance is available.

Measures available include recovery coordination, increased support through Enhanced Task Force Green teams and Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust, as well as tax flexibility.

"The supervised Enhanced Task Force Green teams will be critical to help farmers and individual households with the clean-up," said Tolley.

Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development, has announced that additional recovery assistance is available. Photo / File
Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development, has announced that additional recovery assistance is available. Photo / File

"Extra financial assistance is available in the form of civil defence payments and over 500 applications have been received so far. Most requests are for personal items like clothing, bedding and food.

"In extreme events, Rural Assistance Payments can be made available to help with rural families' essential living costs."

Guy said it's already clear that all primary sectors in the area have been affected to some extent, with major damage to farmland and infrastructure due to flooding, debris and slips.

"Farmers and growers in the Bay of Plenty are used to managing through large rainfall events and have experienced flooding before, but this is extreme and its effects are still becoming apparent.

"The Whakatane District has significant flooding on the Rangitaiki Plains. There are slips and localised flooding in southern areas of the district, and slips and large areas of silt damage in Taneatua, Galatea, Murapara and Minginui.

"Road closures and cordons across the district add to challenges for our farmers as they have evacuated around 3500 stock.

"It's also crunch time for our growers as kiwifruit orchards in the region are at the point of harvest.

"As the Fonterra plant at Edgecumbe is inside the cordon and closed, milk is being diverted to Te Rapa and some farmers are drying off their stock early, or moving stock to unaffected properties to continue milking.


"The Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust has been working alongside Federated Farmers and Urban Search and Rescue to prioritise people to be visited, and contacting those in the rural communities to identify immediate need.

"MPI is also working with the SPCA, Fire Service, and vets from Massey to locate and house abandoned pets, and to identify and manage pets that have died. So far more than 230 pets have been successfully reunited with their owners which is thanks to the fantastic work of these local rescue teams."

The Bay of Plenty DHB issued a Boil Water Notice for the Taneatua, Ruatoki and Rangitaiki Plains areas on Saturday. Dairy farmers must also use boiled water for plant and silo cleaning, activate their risk management procedures and talk to their dairy company about their processes under boil water notices.

The Government Helpline (0800 779 997) is operating from 8am to 6pm.

Local Rural Support Trusts are providing support where it's needed on 0800 RURAL HELP.

People worried about lost pets should contact the Whakatane Emergency Operations Centre on 0800 306 0500.