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West Coast Civil Defence Emergency Management has practical advice for our residents in the aftermath of the recent heavy rain event.

29 Mar 2019 12:20 pm

A Community Information Centre has been established at the I-Site in Hokitika if you would like to ask about further assistance, or if you need assistance with emergency accommodation.

Reminder: All those who have evacuated are asked to register at the Hokitika I-Site centre.

This is important – it means we know who has evacuated and/or needs ongoing assistance and can contact you about getting you back home when the time comes.

If your home has suffered structural damage, or you are not able to stay in your home because of the damage, Please contact your local District Council to arrange an inspection and some assistance to find alternative accommodation.

WESTLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL 0800 474 834 (8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday)

You should also contact your insurance company. If it’s not possible to arrange an immediate visit from your insurance assessor, take photographs or video before you begin to move and discard damaged property.

If your home has been flooded, you should arrange for an electrician to check your wiring etc. before you turn your power back on.

Where to turn for help

The extreme weather and floods have affected many people and it’s completely normal for you and your family to be emotionally and physically exhausted.

Remember, in an emergency, always call 111. If you are unwell but it is not urgent, contact your local GP or community health centre.  You can also call Healthline 0800 611 116, this is a 24/7 service staffed by qualified nurses.

If you are feeling stressed and anxious or you need some advice, then there are places you can go for some support, listed below:

  • Your GP or community health centre
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633
  • Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Your employer, through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Taking care of our Wellbeing 

Major events affect each of us differently – we all need a bit of support from time-to-time! Following a major event, most people will benefit from being able to talk to someone about it and to share how they are feeling as a consequence of that event. For most people, talking with friends, family, neighbours and / or colleagues will be enough to help ease the immediate fears or worries and identify some things that will help.

There are small things we can do to look after ourselves and others, when times are tough.

  • Be kind to one another. Kindness is contagious, and boosts endorphins.
  • Take a digital detox, and focus on an activity you love. Reading, games with the kids, or a short walk.
  • Spend time with people you love – we all need each other. Talk about how your feeling
  • Focus on the things you can control

Be mindful of your children and young people

  • Children take their cues of parents — so if you’re okay, they’ll be okay too…
  • Be mindful how much ‘worry’ you’re displaying, just be as cool as you can!
  • If possible keep them engaged in their usual routines – pre-school, school, sport, church or other of their usual activities

The Five Ways of wellbeing is very helpful for maintaining our wellbeing.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help available.

Free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day.

Contact your GP for any physical or mental health needs.

Contact the DHB if you or someone you know is needing mental health crisis support 

Benefits and Payments

There are lots of ways the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) can help and they can point you in the right direction based on your situation. You don’t have to be on a benefit to be eligible, though you may have to pay the money back depending on your situation.

MSD can help if, because of the weather event, you have:

  • Urgent or unexpected costs (e.g. petrol, food, furniture);
  • Urgent living expenses (e.g. medical costs, house repairs or maintenance, replacing appliances, bedding, food, rent, power bills);
  • Lost wages (e.g. you can’t work because you are sick, you have to stay home and look after family members, your workplace is closed).

Everyone’s circumstances are different so what you may be able to get depends on your situation.

Call 0800 559 009 during business hours for more information.

Tenancy Information

If you are a tenant or landlord of a rental property, you can find information on your rights and obligations at www.tenancy.govt.nz or by calling 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

Support for Rural Communities

Rural Support Trusts have local people trained to offer assistance and support and their help is free and confidential. Call 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) or visit www.rural-support.org.nz.

If you need help on the farm, please contact Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646.

Insurance and Lodging an EQC Claim

If your home, contents or car has been damaged by flooding, take some photos before you remove or repair anything and report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will let you know what you need to do next, how to claim and how EQC works.

If you need to make your home safe, sanitary, secure and weather tight, please record the work done, take photos and keep a copy of the bills paid.

You can make an EQC claim online at www.ecq.govt.nz/claims or call 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243).

Cleaning Your Property After Flooding

  • Drain, clean and dry out buildings.
  • Remove anything wet that can be moved outside. Dry carpets, bedding, clothing and furniture in the sun if possible.
  • Check for water and mud trapped under fittings such as shower trays, baths, benches, bottom shelves, in-wall cavities and lower drawers.
  • Remove carpet underlay.
  • Wash or flush down walls, shelves and boards with clean water and sweep to remove contaminated water and sediment.
  • Use a solution of 1 litre bleach to 10 litres water to rinse walls, floors and surfaces. Leave the solution on for 30 minutes before rinsing with clean water. Keep the windows open.
  • Use hot water and soap or detergent for final clean.
  • Open all windows or use fans if possible to ventilate the house.
  • Use blowers to increase the air flow under the house.
  • Remove hollow doors.
  • Ignore mould growth until it is completely dry, then use bleach to remove.
  • Disinfect where necessary – particularly anything that may have been soaked by contaminated water.
  • Dispose of contaminated clothing, carpet, upholstered furniture, bedding and toys unless they can be fully disinfected.

Cleaning the Kitchen Area

Everything you use for food preparation and eating will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before you can use it again.

  • Soak glass, china, porcelain, pottery, enamel and plastic dishes and containers for 10 minutes in a disinfecting solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per 4.5 litres of hot water. Air dry afterwards, don’t use a tea towel.
  • Disinfect cutlery, metal utensils, pots and pans by boiling them for 10 minutes. Don’t use chlorine bleach because it reacts with many metals and causes them to become darker.
  • Clean your cupboards and benches with chlorine bleach solution before you put items back.

Dealing with Food After Flooding

  • Any open food items that have been in contaminated water must be thrown out.
  • If you are in any doubt, discard items.
  • If the power was off for less than 24 hours and your fridge remained closed, items in your fridge may still be safe to eat. If the fridge door was opened and the temperature increased, discard all items.
  • Any items in the freezer which thawed or partly thawed must not be re-frozen. If the power was off for more than 2 days or the freezer was opened during the power cut, or there is any evidence that frozen food thawed and re-froze, do not use the food – throw it out.
  • Tins of food that have been exposed to flood water must be disinfected before opening.

Stay up to date on www.westcoastemergency.govt.nz and www.facebook.com/emergencywestcoast

Westland Weather Event – March 2019

28 Mar 2019 9:51 am
Updated Saturday, 30 March 2019 10:54 am

Media Update 8

28 March 2019 1635 hours

West Coast Severe Weather Event

A state of emergency will remain in place overnight for the Westland District due to the effects of the severe weather event and will be reassessed tomorrow morning at 0900 hours.

There is another incoming heavy rain front expected to arrive overnight Sunday 31 March and continue into Monday morning 1 April.  Metservice has advised a rain warning may be issued for Westland south of Otira and a watch may be issued for northern Westland and Buller.

Current roads still affected:

  • SH6 Franz to Fox – Closed until Waiho bridge can be replaced, expected to take one week to ten days.
  • SH6 Hokitika to Franz – Open one lane in several places
  • SH6 Fox to Haast – Open one lane in several places
  • SH6 Haast to Makarora – Open one lane in places (Haast Pass)
  • SH73 Arthurs Pass to Jacksons – Kelly’s Creek – open

Motorists are urged to take care, as there will be standing water and debris on the highway in places, and work crews attending to clean-up and repair work. Also, be aware that new slips may develop following this large rainfall event.

NZTA is advising drivers to check the NZ Transport Agency Journey website www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz or calling 0800 44 44 49 for 24/7 road condition information on closures or delays.

  • Power has been restored to Waiho Flat Road in Franz Josef. Power is unlikely to be restored in Haast tomorrow (Friday 29 March).
  • Power still remains off to Dorothy Falls Road due to power pole washout.
  • A generator has arrived at Haast to power the water treatment plant until power is fully restored. Water restriction remains in place until 3pm Friday 29 March.

West Coast Regional Council is conducting temporary engineering repairs to cut off the channels currently flooding the Franz Josef Airstrip, and protect properties on the south bank of the Waiho River. This will continue until the end of tomorrow. WCRC will continue discussions with all stakeholders as to the long-term protection of the community.

Cellphone coverage has been restored to Fox Glacier.  Bridging Fibre Optic cable across Waiho river to re-establish communication should be in place by end of day tomorrow.

West Coast Civil Defence wishes to advise all members of the public that all emergency services are actively responding to this event. If you have any serious concerns please call 111.

This will be the last media release for West Coast Civil Defence for this event, to keep up to date with the latest information check www.westcoastemergency.govt.nz and Facebook.



Media contact

| Public Information| West Coast Emergency Management Group |


Westland Weather Event – Photos

27 Mar 2019 1:27 pm

Just some of the photos captured today from our aerial teams of the damage around the Westland District.

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi arrives in Westland

27 Mar 2019 12:19 pm

The Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi and Hon Damien O’Connor arrived on the West Coast this morning to visit the ECC and various locations in Westland today.

State of emergency declared in Westland District

26 Mar 2019 7:19 pm
Updated Saturday, 30 March 2019 10:44 am

A state of emergency was declared in the Westland District on Tuesday 26 March 2019 at 5.45pm for the severe weather event. The declaration is no longer in place, but Civil Defence staff and contractors will continue to work on recovery for some time.

Information & Emergency Situation Map

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Civil Defence West Coast
NIWA Weather
Rounds of rain this weekend will produce two-day totals of 200+ mm over the higher terrain of the west of the South Island. 🌧️Watch for rising rivers 🌧️Drive to the conditions 🌧️Slips possible ~Chris
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