State of Emergency remains in force
A breach of the Rangitāiki River stopbank at Edgecumbe resulted in the declaration of a State of Emergency in the Whakatāne District and an order to evacuate the town. That evacuation affected some 580 households and a population of approximately 1600 people.
The Rangitaiki River flow has reduced to 420 cu.m a second, down from 700+ cumecs yesterday. Regional Council teams are carrying out visual inspections of stopbanks this morning and we anticipate having information on when access may be restored to parts of Edgecumbe that have not been flooded by early afternoon.
Temporary repairs to Thornton stopbank have held overnight and there are no additional concerns with this at present. Again, this area will be inspected this morning and we expect to have further information by early afternoon.
Teams are working on the roading network and we anticipate a number of roads will be opening as the day goes on. Advisories will be sent out as information comes to hand.
State Highway 30 west to Rotorua is now open. Slips are being cleared through the Waimana Gorge. We expect to have further information regarding road access to Taneatua and Ruatoki by mid-morning.
Edgecumbe community: a security cordon was in place over night and Police report that there were no significant issues.
Te Whaiti and Ruatahuna are still isolated and there is major damage to Ruatāhuna Road, so access may not be restored for some time; we are working to get food and medical supplies through to those areas as soon as possible.
Teams will be out in the community today to start an initial needs assessment process. Residents are asked to help with that process and be patient – we all want this situation to be dealt with as quickly as possible, but the reality is that resources are limited.
Damage to flooded homes will need to be assessed to determine whether homes are safe to inhabit. In many instances, it is likely that it could be up to 72 hours before that is possible, and where damage is significant, it could be longer. Everything that can be done to get people back into their homes will be done.
Other flood-related impacts are as follows:
Key additional messages: