Napier resident Paula has described the horrendous cyclone aftermath she never expected, as dead animals still float past her house.
Her family, sheltering at an in-law’s house nearby, is living off sausages and stale bread as they cook off a borrowed BBQ.
They have little access to further supplies.
Paula and her husband had their Meeanee home washed out by floods, reaching waist-deep and damaging most belongings inside.
She described the unsettling experience of being cut off from society with no information or contact with others in the township.
”There’s just so much devastation, but nobody knows how other people in Napier are doing,” she said.
Currently taking shelter at an in-law’s house nearby, Paula's family is living off sausages and stale bread as they cook off a borrowed BBQ. Photo / Supplied
”There’s no power in the city, texts are occasional but everything else is down. It’s just eerie - there are helicopters and Army trucks, it feels more normal today but there’s just mass devastation, stories coming out of terrible tragedies.”
The couple evacuated their homes, along with the rest of Meeanee on Tuesday after the neighbouring Tutaekuri River breached its banks.
Paula took only a spare pair of pants and a raincoat - feeling relieved at the time the cyclone had passed and believed the worst was over.
”We couldn’t get home for days, you couldn’t get within 2km of the house.”
Thirty dead sheep litter a neighbouring paddock which is still flooded out, a dead cow has washed on to the front of their property.
Returning to their home, she described the experience as like walking on slime.
The cyclone has devastated orchards at the height of the growing and picking season. Photo / Mark Mitchell
”The smell is just obscene,” said Paula.
Napier has run out of petrol, and queues for refill stations “stretch and wind for roads”.
No shops are open and Paula said the looting of evacuated houses and shops has been rife in the region over recent days.
”But the community has just rallied, the offers of support are phenomenal.
”Everybody is doing the best they can, the council are doing what they can do - it’s frustrating and hard.”
There have been testy scenes in Napier as residents face lengthy queues at supermarkets and to buy fuel at petrol stations.
Police were forced to intervene when an ugly shouting match erupted in the queue for petrol at BP Carlyle this morning.
Meanwhile emergency supplies of food, water and fuel are arriving in cyclone-struck Gisborne, but warnings remain that there are “still major issues in the ravaged region”.
“The water situation is still critical and with residents failing to reduce their usage, the reality of the taps running dry looms large,” local authorities said today.
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