North Canterbury flooding clean-up begins

Waimakariri faces day of damage assessment

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 12:27 11/06/2014
Bernadette and Jim Thomas
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ

HELPING HAND: Bernadette Thomas surveys the scene in her flooded garage on Whitefield St as neighbour Harley Robb helps to pump water away.

Absinthe and Jamie Lucas
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ
MAKING THE MOST: Absinthe Lucas and her dad, Jamie, have fun in the remnants of floodwater in Akaroa St.

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The Waimakariri district is preparing for a clean-up as water begins to recede following yesterday's heavy rain. 

Waimakariri District Council staff and contractors were out assessing flood damage, drainage and roads this morning, before making assessments about the extent of the repair work needed.

The council's community team and volunteers were also out visiting homes in the worst-affected areas.

The district council's emergency operations centre (EOC) received 300 to 400 calls yesterday, and was still operating today.

Staff would be reviewing all the calls to make sure they had been followed-up and would be collating them geographically to identify areas where immediate solutions might work, such as unblocking drains.

EOC controller Nick Harrison said it was likely some flooding issues would need to be addressed over the longer term. 

"Once we've had a chance to examine the extent of damage and formulate a recovery approach based on that, the recovery task can be set in motion."

Waimakariri mayor David Ayers urged those affected by the rain and flooding to contact the council if they had not already.

"We can only operate when we've got information, so do call the council."

Ayers also urged motorists to take extreme care on the roads.

It was likely pot holes would have formed in some places, which would not be visible where there was still surface flooding. 

"The roads have taken a huge hammering," he said. 

The council issued a boil water notice for residents connected to Oxford's Rural No 2 water supply late yesterday.

Residents were advised to continue boiling all drinking water until further notice.

FLOODED COUPLE GRATEFUL FOR NEIGHBOURS

Bernadette and Jim Thomas were filling up a trailer with items they had to throw out after the garage of their Kaiapoi home was flooded.

The elderly couple had lived on Whitefield St for 21 years and said it was the worst flood they had seen.

A pump normally used to remove stormwater from their basement garage did not work because the street outside had been too flooded.

"There was just no where for it to go," Bernadette Thomas said. 

The couple were grateful for help from their neighbours of 14 years, Craig Robb and his family, who were also flooded. 

"They've got a lot to do themselves, but they're here for us. It's a tremendous help; they are just the best neighbours that anybody could ever have," Thomas said.

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- The Press

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