Clean-up in East Coast After Heavy Rain Again Batters Region

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The full extent of damage along the East Coast is still being assessed after wild weather again battered the region.

Some communities remain cut off as multiple local roads remain closed due to flooding and landslides.

Wairoa authorities were out surveying the district today by helicopter as new reports of damage came in.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little told 1News some of the region’s rural communities “were pretty isolated and had poor access already”.

“We had some goat tracks for them but we’re working frantically to get these roads open,” he said.

“W’’ll get there but it’s just really frustrating for these people.”

He said the intensity of the rain has meant that “what used to work as a fix isn’t working anymore”.

Little said the region needs urgent government help to “clear all this up” before Christmas.

“If we don’t get 100 per cent government support, we are going to be up against the wall,” he said.

“Our community will go broke if this keeps happening.”

It comes after State Highway 2 south of Wairoa — a key road linking Wairoa with Napier — opened one lane today following a slip caused by heavy rain this weekend.

One person was killed and another was seriously injured after a car collided with the landslide yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, logs and debris floating in the sea are expected to take weeks to come ashore, the Gisborne District Council said today in a media release.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the wild weather has been a “big blow” for the region, with Ūawa and Whāngārā beaches again covered in debris after it was cleaned last month.

“What we do know is that it could have been a lot worse,” she said.

The council has so far removed 22,366 m3 of debris from the Waimata Catchment area, while work is underway for boats to dislodge wood backed up behind the railway bridge.

“This does have the effect of pushing the debris out to sea, and it will wash up on our beaches over the next couple of weeks,” Stoltz said.

It comes after around 65 volunteers from Fulton Hogan, ISO, Downer and the council yesterday helped remove debris from the William Pettie Bridge and Gladstone Rd bridge — two of the city’s main traffic bridges.

A “final sweep” of the beaches will go ahead on December 10 as planned, while talks are underway with the Eastland Wood Council as to how they can provide assistance.

Scours have been closed today and there is a five-day warning to not swim or eat shellfish, Stoltz said. The region’s coastline also remains under a biotoxin warning.

An estimated 1.5 million cubic metres of woody debris is still up in the hills and will require an estimated $120 million to remove.

A further $117 million is needed to remove woody debris from around the region’s road and bridge network.

“Council doesn’t have these funds and we’ve asked the Government to help us be proactive around future risks and ensure we protect our vital infrastructure,” Stoltz said.

Source: 1News