The massive clean-up of forestry debris that flooded a small town north of Gisborne has begun.

Heavy rain on Monday caused water to flood through homes in Tolaga Bay, made worse when the Mangaheia River burst its banks.

This morning, Tairawhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management staff will fly to isolated properties to provide welfare checks and essential food supplies.

"We are still assessing the full extent of the damage but the preliminary costs are estimated to be around the $10 million mark," said Christine Boyce, Gisborne District Council communications manager.

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"The clean-up will take several months."

The council is asking anyone who is affected by the floods to contact them if support was required.

Contractors have been working around the clock to clear silt and debris, and Glenroy, Anaura Bay, Kaiaua, Waiomoko, Panikau, Pakare Rds are now open.

Yesterday, contractors pushed through the major slip on Arakihi Rd, inland of Tolaga Bay, to find another slip on West Ho Rd.

Arakihi, West Ho, Kiore and Rangikohua roads remain closed.

Structural engineers are coming in from Whanganui to help inspect bridges.


Police are monitoring roads closed by debris, sludge and silt to ensure people stayed off them.

A severe weather watch is no longer in place, and rivers in the area have stayed below the first alert levels.

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The council said no new issues have been reported in Tolaga Bay because of subsequent rain.