How to help Edgecumbe and other flood-damaged eastern BOP areas

Various options are available to help residents of the eastern Bay of Plenty, including Edgecumbe, after last week's ...
DOMINIC ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Various options are available to help residents of the eastern Bay of Plenty, including Edgecumbe, after last week's major flooding. Things are likely to be worse by the end of Thursday, as the alreadly sodden area faces the threat of torrential rain, thunderstorms, 150kmh gusts and five-metre waves.

The Bay of Plenty town of Edgecumbe has had nowhere near enough time to recover from last week's destructive flooding but, along with much of the rest of the country, is taking another hammering from the weather.

Last Thursday about 1600 residents from about 580 households in the town were evacuated as water poured through a breach in the Rangitaiki River stopbank. Those residents, and others hit by flooding in the eastern BOP, can use all the assistance they can get. Here are some of the ways available to help them:

Whakatane District Council has set up the Edgecumbe & Eastern Bay of Plenty Mayoral Flood Appeal on Givealittle. Along with the extensive damage to Edgecumbe, other communities affected by flooding and slips are Taneatua, Ruatoki, Ruatahuna, Te Whaiti, Ngaputahi and Waimana. Money raised through the fund will be used to fund applications for aid.

The Red Cross Bay of Plenty Flood Appeal will initially be used to provide clean-up materials for homes and for psychological support. That is seen as just the start, with Red Cross expecting an ongoing need for help. The organisation has committed $50,000 to a response and recovery fund for the region, but says it also needs public support to help people get back on their feet and into their homes. Donations can be made to Red Cross over the internet, and can also be made at Countdown supermarkets, which have kick-started fundraising by chipping in $10,000.

The Ngati Awa Volunteer Army is being set up by Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, working with Whakatane District Council and BOP Regional Council. The main tasks for volunteers will be helping remove silt and flood-damaged items from public land, and from private properties where landowners have given consent. Volunteers need to be at least 16 years old, physically fit and healthy enough to work for four hours on a shovel, and preferably with their own gumboots, wet weather gear and old clothing. The first clean-up operation is planned for Saturday, weather permitting.

Federated Farmers is asking anyone with surplus feed to consider donating it to farmers in the Edgecumbe area as part of an effort being organised by Hay Man co-owner Jason Hill, who can be contacted on 027 458 5295. Federated farmers also has its own adverse events trust, and asked anyone who wanted to help its charitable work to contact it on 0800 327 646.

A range of Givealittle pages have been set up to help those affected by the floods:
- Leading Edge NZ has a page to help team members Sarah Sim and Tee Mansell.
- Paul Charteris, founder of the Tarawera Ultramarathon, has set up a page to help feed volunteers working on the clean-up.
- Fonterra and FarmSource have a page to help staff, shareholders and the community.
- Natasha Grindrod has set up a page to help her best friend Kelly Flynn. During the flood, Flynn, her three-week-old baby and stepson had to be rescued from their home.
- Surtees Boats, which cancelled its Whakatane fishing competition because of the weather and resulting flooding, will match the $25 entry fee any competition entrants donate to its page.
- Kim Withell has a page to help her cousin Todd Provan, whose house was flooded.
- The Scrap Metal Recycling Association of NZ has a page to help Roy Wilson, who is a leading hand at Metal Solutions BOP and lost his family's home in the flood. 

A way to keep in touch with people affected by the floods is through the Kia Kaha Edgecumbe Facebook page. It includes information on the sort of help wanted and how to get it to those in need.

Radio station 1XX has an existing charitable trust for disaster donations.

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