And now for the big cleanup

Last updated 08:03 06/03/2014
Photo: Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Krystal Merrick and Dan Evans from the NZRT-12 Emergency Response/Rescue Team travel up the Heathcote River flooding waters along Riverlaw Terrace in their new rescue boat, donated from the lotteries ministry travel with a Red Cross member from RC23 team.

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Hundreds of Cantabrians face a tough flood cleanup today following a one-in-100-year event.

Most roads and schools have reopened today as the floodwaters recede, but Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said about 650 homes were still without power this morning - most in Banks Peninsula.

"The ones in Christchurch are the result of flooding so we've got to wait until the water's receded. There's a pocket of 30 customers in Linwood without power, they're a priority to get sorted."

It was possible some people could be without power again tonight - most likely those in remote bays in Banks Peninsula.

"It's the underfoot conditions really. It's the risk of slips and just the sheer effort of getting there," he said.

"In the city, it's really dependent on water receding and us cleaning out the equipment and letting it dry."

Jamieson urged those whose homes had flooded to get their properties checked out by an electrician as soon as possible.

Twenty families were evacuated from Lyttelton's Cressy, Park and Brittan terraces yesterday afternoon after a slip put a hole in a silo containing jet fuel and damaged another containing 91 unleaded petrol.

A Fire Service spokesman this morning said firefighters were still at the site, but no-one had been injured.

"We're monitoring and working with the port authority."

Firefighters did not attend any weather-related incidents in Canterbury overnight, bringing relief after almost 300 emergency callouts the night before and nearly 200 between 6am and 4pm yesterday.

St John put two extra ambulance crews on Christchurch streets yesterday, but paramedics were not called to any weather-related injuries, spokesman Ian Henderson said.

A police spokesman said Canterbury officers were also given a reprieve from weather callouts overnight, with no requests for help for flood or wind related incidents.

Forecasters say Canterbury's weather will be settled for the next two days, which will help hundreds of residents with the cleanup of their properties.

In Christchurch, Metservice said the weather was expected to be mainly fine, with a bit of morning and evening cloud and a high of 19 degrees Celsius.

Tomorrow is expected to be much the same, but a southerly change on Saturday morning will bring showers to the city. 

"It's quite a different situation to the rain that we had yesterday, so it shouldn't be a big deal," severe weather forecaster Chris Noble said."What looks to be coming through on Saturday is pretty trivial by comparison."

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel told TV3's Firstline programme this morning that central and local government needed to work together on finding solutions for flood-affected residents.

She and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee had a briefing at 8am today with engineers to discuss the issues. 

"We'll be asking them whether we need to retest some of our assumptions so we can get this right". 

She could not say if further red-zoning of Christchurch land could happen, as that had been a decision made by central Government and was "not an area that I can revisit".

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Brownlee's meeting with councillors also discussed if flood protection work in the Flockton basin may be fast-tracked with a private members bill.

There was no exact count of the number of homes flooded, but the city council said at least 100 had been affected.

Next to the Heathcote River, Dion Farmer's home on the corner of Aynsley Tce and Opawa Rd was awash.

Farmer had only recently moved back into the house after five weeks of earthquake repairs. His wife, Emma, was on the phone again to their insurance company. "We've been here 28 years and this is the first time it's flooded in the house. It's pretty shocking," he said.

"I feel a bit sort of gutted - we'd been looking forward to coming home. Having said that, there are people worse off than us so we can't really complain," he said.

Debs Sinclair said she had been trying to get someone to check the water that comes up on her land since the February 2011 earthquake.

"I had EQC out in the early days, but nothing happened. I'm trying basically to get a proper inspection done."

Her Hargood St property had been constantly flooded since the February 2011 earthquake, with water and silt stuck under the house.

"There's water there all the time. There was water there when it was 30 degrees the other week," she said.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said houses needing urgent repairs because of the "one in 100-year flood" would get government help.

He said Fletcher EQR would manage urgent repairs for damage caused by the flooding.

The process would be similar to the emergency repair process in the earthquakes, he said.

"Where there are earthquake issues that have been exacerbated by the weather, or new issues that have arisen which are not urgent but need attention, we encourage people to contact 0800 777 846 so that we can find solutions for them," he said.

- Fairfax Media


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