Media release #11 – Wanganui District flooding: 17 October 2013 – 1.00pm

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17/10/2013 1:00:00 p.m.

Civil Defence Controller Rowan McGregor says today’s focus is on looking after the community and cleaning up following this week’s flooding.

“Safety of our community remains our top priority,” Mr McGregor said.

“Although the sun is out today, there is still a large amount of water that has ponded in our parks and other areas. We cannot stress enough that all ponded water should be treated as contaminated with sewage and people should keep out of it. A number of areas adjoining the Whanganui River are being checked for sewage contamination.

“Our roading contractors are doing a fantastic job of getting roads open but extreme caution is needed. Many of the roads are very slippery and have a lot of silt on them. The initial priority is to ensure access and it will be at least two weeks before the roads are fully cleared.

“All residents who had to be evacuated on Tuesday have been able to return to their properties. If any of those people have issues following their return home, they should contact the Wanganui District Council in the first instance.”

Civil Defence payments
The Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner has authorised the availability of Civil Defence Payments; however, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria. A Civil Defence payment helps people who have been evacuated due to a civil defence emergency with costs for accommodation, food, bedding, clothing and loss of income. People who think they may be eligible should contact Siobhan Gulliver, phone 965 8070.

Kowhai Park
All of Kowhai Park is closed until further notice. There is no possibility it will be open this weekend. Parts of the park need water pumped out and the whole area is being assessed for sewage contamination. The closure will be reviewed on Wednesday, October 23.

Market
Discussions are taking place with organisers about arrangements for this Saturday’s The River Traders/Whanganui’s Market by the River.

Riverbank, marina and slipways
Planning is under way to clear the banks of the Whanganui River of silt and remove silt and other debris from the City Marina and slipways.

Manhole covers
Crews are checking manhole covers on roads and footpaths as these may have been dislodged.

Road closures
Work is still on track to get most of the district’s roads open today. An update on progress will be provided after 4.00pm.

Bridges
Debris is being removed by crane from around the piers of Whanganui River bridges. All bridges in the district are being assessed but it appears there is no major damage.

Page reviewed: 17 Oct 2013 1:00pm