Flood control teams are working to repair the College Road stop bank breach in Edgecumbe today and manage high water levels as floodwaters continue to move down the catchment. Trustpower has lowered Matahina Dam outflows to the absolute minimum so that the breach repair work can be done.
In the meantime the Edgecumbe township remains cordoned off to ensure public safety while flood waters are still being managed and pumped away and to protect people from sanitation risks associated with sewage system failures and surface water contamination.
An Exclusion Zone is in place and only response service personnel are allowed into the area.
Edgecumbe residents will not be allowed to return until the flood waters and contamination concerns are controlled and the Medical Officer of Health has cleared the area as safe. It may be up to 72 hours before people will be able to return to their homes.
Evacuees should go to friends and family or to the welfare centres at Whakatāne (War Memorial Hall) and Kawerau (Rautahi Marae – Onslow Street). Other requests for welfare services can be made by calling 0800 306 0500.
There are still people isolated in the communities of Minginui, Ruatāhuna, Te Whāiti and Rūātoki. Civil Defence staff have established key contacts in those areas. Emergency supplies are being delivered by air and ground crews are working to restore road access as quickly as possible.
People in those isolated communities have been gathering at their local Kura Kaupapa or other community hubs and are encouraged to contact the Whakatāne District Council on 306 0500 to request further information or welfare support.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Flood Manager has confirmed with Trustpower that the Matahina dam is structurally sound. This morning’s rumours that it failed are untrue.
Floodwaters have spread to South Edgecumbe and the levels have now been stabilised in this area.
The Omeheu Canal floodgates opened around 10am and are flat out discharging floodwaters from the breach to the Tarawera River. More rural landowners in the Rangitāiki drainage area may be affected as floodwaters move down through the catchment. Flood Management teams are monitoring the situation and further evacuations will be notified as required.
Water and sanitation
Due to the risk of contamination from flood waters a boil water notice is now in effect for the entire Rūātoki and the Rangitāiki Plains areas.
This means that people in these areas should bring water to a rapid boil for at least one minute to make it safe to drink.
The effected areas include:
- Te Teko/Mapou
See updated road closure information on the website https://www.whakatane.govt.nz/news/severe-weather-event-updates-april-2017
Offers of assistance
An official Mayoral Fund Give a Little page has been set up for the Edgecumbe & Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) Mayoral Flood Appeal. Money raised through the appeal will be used to fund applications made to the Mayoral Relief Fund to assist people affected by this week’s flooding events. People can donate at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ebopmayoralfund
Welfare and evacuation centres do not require any donated goods. Offers of assistance should be directed to the Give a Little fund or by calling Whakatāne District Council on 0800 306 0500.
For further information
- Whakatāne District Council Facebook: facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil
- Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Civil Defence Facebook: facebook.com/bopcivildefence
- Bay of Plenty Regional Council Facebook: facebook.com/boprc
- Listen to IXX FM: 90.5FM
- To report road closures, slips, stormwater and sewerage problems dial the Council on 306 0500
- To find the location of welfare centres dial the Council on 306 0500 or go on the Council’s website at whakatane.govt.nz or Facebook page Facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil
See updates at: