Civil Defence visits isolated Gisborne homes as roads open
Homes isolated by the deluge in the Gisborne region will get Civil Defence help today as roads closed due to flooding begin to reopen.
Torrential rains in the region in Monday meant two sections of State Highway 2 were closed on Monday night, between Napier and Wairoa and between Ormond and Opotiki, cutting off the town of Te Karaka completely.
But on Tuesday morning, State Highway 2 to Te Karaka reopened, allowing Civil Defence to move in and assist.
The Gladstone Rd bridge in Gisborne, one of the city's main arteries, was also reopened on Tuesday.
Several rural roads remained closed, and the Gisborne District Council planned to keep residents informed on its website.
Gisborne Civil Defence spokeswoman Louise Bennett said showers were continuing to fall in Gisborne, but Tuesday would be a day of recovery.
"The river has peaked and yesterday it started dropping, so we believe the worst is over."
She said people were starting to make trips out to check on rural homes and families at first light on Tuesday.
"Today we'll follow up on more isolated areas."
Some people had told her the river had risen faster than it did during the infamous Cyclone Bola in 1988, when heavy rainfall peaked at 917mm.
On Monday, Gisborne had 150 millimetres of rain in 24 hours, swelling the Taruheru and Waimata rivers.
She said local farmers and people whose houses had been damaged would be worst affected.
"It's quite significant for some people, in the rural areas especially. The crops and the produce will be impacted because they've already planted their seeds and crops and now they're inundated with water.
"And for the people who are flooded out, yes it is significant for them."
The small community of Te Karaka, about 30km north of Gisborne, had been isolated on Monday by flooding on the highway in both directions.
But concerns that homes may be deluged and evacuations required were put to rest when heavy rain stopped falling on Monday afternoon.
Te Karaka Area School sent children home on Monday morning and was one of several schools in the area to either close or ask parents to keep children at home.
The school closed again on Tuesday because of concerns it may have been risky for pupils from some outlying areas to make the trip in.
Staff said they hoped to reopen on Wednesday.
Bennett said she was not aware of any other schools closing on Tuesday. "But there may be some whose children may not be able to get to school."
She said power was running, and Civil Defence would be checking rural areas for any power lines that were down.