Anzac Parade flood resilience
You live in the Anzac Parade area – are you prepared for a flood?
The lower Whanganui River area has flooded many times in its history – some residents will remember the June 2015 flood and the impact it had on Anzac Parade in particular.
Your property location has been identified as being at risk, or in the evacuation zone, during a large flood for this area, and it is important for your household to be prepared for when a flood event does occur.
Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) have come together to provide you with the tools and information to support your household in your preparedness and improve resilience in our community.
While there has been a lot of discussion around the risk prior to now, we know that many residents have moved into the area relatively recently.
So, how can you be prepared?
Step One: Be informed
Sign up to Horizons’ early warning systems
Did you know Horizons Regional Council operates an automated river level alert system that you can sign up for? This 24-hour service is popular with individuals who have properties at risk of flooding.
To subscribe for alerts, you can choose to register for when the alert for when the Whanganui River at Pipiriki reaches 13 metres. This means that once you sign up, you will receive an automated phone call when the Whanganui River reaches this height upstream at Pipiriki. This will give you approximately six to 10 hours to get ready for an evacuation if the river continues to rise. You can also sign up for other river alert locations and heights if you wish.
Sign up here
If you do not want to receive river level alerts,you can follow river height information at your own convenience. This can be done either via phone or online.
Horizons’ Waterline service is a 24-hour telephone service, accessible by calling toll free 0508 4 FLOOD (0508 435 663) and following the voice prompts. Or you can visit www.horizons.govt.nz for 24-hour live flood forecasting. Use the drop-down menu on the right-hand side under ‘Check environmental data in your area’, you can see forecasted levels for Whanganui River at Pipiriki.
Finally, while these steps of being informed are based on something that occurs upstream at Pipiriki, Horizons Regional Council is looking into having a more local solution for both Anzac Parade and Putiki which also floods. We are in the very early stages of this concept so will share more information if it progresses.
Please note that while the river alert system is a good predictor of river levels downstream, it is important to emphasise that every event is different because tides, soil moisture levels and additional localised rainfall impact how quickly and severe flooding occurs. There can also be localised flooding from the Matarawa Stream if it can’t flow into the Whanganui River as it’s in flood.
This means you may need to evacuate from your home quickly, or not at all. If you are ever in doubt and feel unsafe, don’t wait for instruction – it’s always safer to get out.
Step Two: Be prepared
Have an emergency plan
Emergency plans are extremely helpful when preparing for a flood event. Come together as a household and fill out a ‘Household Emergency Plan’ so you all know what you need to do and who to contact if there is a flood. You can find an online form to fill out at www.getready.govt.nz.
Have a grab bag
If you have to evacuate, you will need essential items that you can carry with you. It’s ideal to store these items in a grab bag or container, ready for you to take if you have to leave in a hurry. But if that’s out of reach right now, identify what you’ve already got in your whare (home), and make sure you know where these items are, so you can grab them quickly.
If you can, ensure that everyone has easy access to a grab bag at mahi (work) and at home. You can store a grab bag in your car so that you are never far from it.
Basic supplies to have in a grab bag in case you have to evacuate:
- Torches and batteries.
- Radio (solar, wind up or battery powered).
- Hand sanitiser.
- Copies of important documents (online or paper). You can do this by taking a photo or a scan of an important document on your smartphone.
- Walking shoes, warm clothes, raincoat and hat.
- First aid kit and prescription medicine.
- Water and snack food (remember babies and pets too).
- Chargers for your phone and any other devices you may need. If your car has a 12v power outlet or a cigarette lighter, consider including a USB phone charger which will plug in to it.
Step Three: Be ready
If a flood event is forecast as possible or probable, you can be assured that both Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council CDEM are monitoring everything that is going on and making decisions to activate flood action plans to keep you and your whānau safe.
However, it is important that you are ready to act quickly. Regardless of how prepared you may be, floods and flash floods can happen quickly and with limited warning.
Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water and leave at any time if you feel unsafe.
What can you do?
- Be prepared and keep your grab bag close.
- Leave mobile phones on (including overnight) and charged so you can receive Civil Defence Emergency Mobile Alerts.
- Listen to the radio (Brian FM – 91.2, Awa FM – 100, The Hits – 89.6 FM along with other stations) for updates, and check www.horizons.govt.nz and this website.
- Follow civildefencemanawatuwhanganui on Facebook for up-to-date information.
Whanganui District Council will also send out emergency information via its free Antenno app, Get the app at: www.whanganui.govt.nz/antenno
If you have to evacuate
In a heavy rain event, Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council CDEM authorities will be monitoring river levels and the weather, and there may come a time when you need to evacuate.
If a flood is considered possible and resources are available, Whanganui District Council CDEM and community volunteers working in pairs under Police guidance will door knock at-risk areas such as Anzac Parade. This gives you time to gather essentials, collect pets, organise travel or accommodation, raise or move household items and valuables and collect valuable documents such as photos and passports. Ideally it is done in daylight,but may occur at any time. Take your pets with you when you evacuate – if it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Leaving them behind may endanger you, your pets, and emergency responders.
Door knocking and verbal warnings to individual households takes time, people, and resources so it is not the only method used. Warning teams may be preceded and/or accompanied by sirens and “stinger” loudspeaker vehicles, fire or other emergency vehicles, and teams will always have identification visible and be in recognisable uniforms or high visibility clothing. They will provide you with basic information, timings and fliers about where to go if help is needed.
Warnings may also be given over local radio networks including Brian FM and Awa FM as well as via media release and the internet.
If the situation changes rapidly and/or requires a quicker response, an immediate evacuation may be required without an initial warning and preparation period. An Emergency Mobile Alert may also be used if there is immediate threat to your safety and little time to warn people – if you see one of these, please follow the instructions to get out immediately. Mobile loudspeakers will also be used along with emergency vehicles.
Finally, evacuation may be mandatory if the risk to life and property is considered likely and an emergency is declared. In this case it is a legal order, enforceable by the Police.
Evacuated areas are then restricted zones and patrolled to prevent crime. Evacuation areas or roadblocks may expand to meet security and cordon needs, to help aid evacuations, reduce congestion and risk.