October 1, 2022
Gisborne remains cut off after heavy rain, slips, floods- BPN TODAY

Gisborne remains cut off after heavy rain, slips, floods

Gisborne remains cut off this evening, with roads closed all around it after heavy rain battered the region, causing slips and widespread flooding.

The sun was shining for most of the day, but slip after slip still covered the roads all over Tairāwhiti. Residents are now bracing for even more downpours.

Bridges are washed out – some totally destroyed – and key transport routes in and out of this area are gone.

Farms have been flooded, rivers burst through here turning them into lakes and stock have been forced to shelter on top of hills.

A river has breached and marched its way across the land and sits on the edge of some tennis courts near Tokomaru Bay.

Further up the coast, debris has washed up on beaches.

Brown rivers snake all across the region.

Jane Brook, who lives near Uawa or Tolaga Bay said last night was terrifying.

“Pretty scary and freaky, I live beside the river and we were wondering whether we’d have to evacuate.”

She was afraid their home might flood, so last night her family, and dog, stayed somewhere slightly different.

“We’ve got a stopbank around our property and the driveway’s got a hump on it. We’ve got a motorhome – we parked that up there overnight – we were still awake at 3am, because it just kept raining, this was last night – the night before was … pretty scary.”

And then critical communication services went down.

“We lost our internet and our cellphone coverage and so we couldn’t keep an eye on the rain radar which we like to keep an eye on.”

Cellphone services were out in the area for several hours today.

Firefighters were standing ready at the station, along with St John specialist vehicles to help locals if they needed emergency medical care as the roads were shut.

Ambulance paramedics also set up a triage tent in the village for practice if they had multiple patients.

Tolaga Bay Fire Brigade officer in charge Andrew Shelton said he had not got much sleep, especially on Tuesday night.

“Very, very little due to the thunder and lightning just keeping the whole community awake, so we were all on tenterhooks at that stage.”

And he said his mates in Tokomaru Bay were managing, even though they were further out.

“They’re doing OK, everyone at the moment is feeling a little bit isolated but everyone’s hanging in there and doing their part as needed.”

As for Tolaga Bay man Terry Hall, he said the last few days had not been out of the ordinary.

“No big deal, because I’ve lived here so long really.”

He said it was concerning these events seemed to be happening a bit more often, but argued precautions could be taken.

“I guess they have been [more frequent] over the years, but nature also heals up in time. If you help it by putting grass seed and planting trees, that’s the best we can do. The one thing they always say – there’s only one thing you can count on in life and that’s change, so you’ve got to do your best and go with it.”

But one thing is not set to change soon – the forecast.

Tairāwhiti is set for heavy rain and wind for the next week. A heavy rain watch is in place for Thursday and Friday.

The roads and land with all the slips, debris and damage also have to be fixed, to get this region moving again.

State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Potaka, and SH2 between Ormond and Ōpōtiki remain closed until tomorrow morning at the earliest.

More heavy rain is forecast for Hawke’s Bay tonight, particularly around Wairoa.

Waka Kotahi said State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier will remain closed overnight, and likely through until at least lunchtime tomorrow.

Contractors have been out today, clearing the road, and made “good progress”, a spokeswoman said.

However, there were still slips and rockfall on the road, making it unsafe to reopen.

State Highway 38 northeast of Frasertown will also remain closed overnight.

The government is giving the Mayoral Relief Fund a cash injection to support communities hardest hit by severe weather.

Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan said the $175,000 would support Tairāwhiti to bounce back.

Speaking on the ground, Allan said locals had dealt with five other significant weather events in the past year.

She said the latest downpour had been really tough on the region.

Source RNZ

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