The June 2015 flooding event which struck the lower North Island of New Zealand last week caused widespread flooding and landslides. This has resulted in significant disruption to transportation networks in the area, with some communities (some 200 rural properties) nearly completely isolated. A photo gallery of the damage can be seen on the Wanganui Chronicle webpage here and here
Some have expressed frustration at being denied access to begin clean-up activities, but Wanagnui district councillor, Jenny Duncan said:
“There are many unseen issues including electrical safety, potential contamination, security and safety.”…
“In addition, there is heavy machinery working in the area, with sanitary and drainage problems to consider.
“This is why it is necessary for a cordon to be in place, and those tasked with manning these must comply with the instructions they are given.”
In other areas as the mammoth clean-up effort continues, the damage caused by the June 2015 Wanganui flooding event is becoming apparent. Current estimates put the cost of recovery at around NZ$120 million, with the New Zealand Government pledging to help local councils with the recovery bill. RadioNZ is reporting that close to 120 homes have been “yellow stickered”, meaning that some work is required before people may inhabit them, and about a dozen properties have been condemned. For those that will be able to return to their homes, it is likely that a significant wait could be in order before they can return as the properties must be cleaned, dried, and have restoration work completed.
Those that are likely to be without housing for an extended period of time are being urged to contact Housing New Zealand (social housing provider) regardless of whether they are a current HNZ tenant. Area Manager for Housing New Zealand, Keith Hilson said:
“It may take some time to reinstate properties that have suffered significant damage, and in some cases the occupant may not have longer-term housing options.”
In addition to the current damage, there is concern that further rainfall could overwhelm already fragile systems.