Wairoa’s mayor has put out an urgent request for emergency assistance from “all agencies”.
Craig Little said they are desperately in need of assistance, with hundreds evacuated from properties mainly surrounding the river catchment.
“We are geographically isolated with roads into the district closed and bridges washed away on State Highways. We have received very little help because we are so cut off and everywhere around us is in emergency mode.”
He said while they are managing their isolation meant they were severely challenged particularly around food, water supply, fuel and communications.
“At this stage we have enough food, water and fuel for the next few days. Damage to the roading network, lack of phone and internet means there are many people who we have not been able to make contact with.”
Electricity, he said, was also compromised and water restrictions were in place.
He said the event was being described as “the most catastrophic” weather event to hit the area in living memory.
“The North Clyde side of the town has been hugely impacted.
“We are working to ensure people’s safety and trying to provide the best services we can given our limitations, particularly our isolation. Evacuation sites have been set up.”
Little said the river rose at an “unprecedented rapid rate”, within a very short time frame, and spilled its banks.
He also thanked their farming community for their help and support in evacuating people in very scary conditions.
“Thank you to all those local people who are assisting.”
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