RAIN EVENT #9 - Region’s focus turns to recovery and evaluation

With the remnants of tropical cyclone Debbie now passed, the Horizons Region is turning its focus to recovery. District Council Emergency Operation Centres and Horizons Regional Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre have or are preparing to close today. 

Horizons controller Ged Shirley says there is much relief that what was a very real threat to communities didn’t eventuate. 

“The original weather mass predicted to move over our Region on Tuesday night was split into smaller masses. While we are relieved, unfortunately what we were originally forecasted to receive has since moved northwest to the Bay of Plenty,” says Mr Shirley. 

Whanganui District Council lifted their State of Emergency at 11am this morning, and are preparing to close their Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) later today. Members of the public who evacuated have been allowed back home, the two Welfare Centres have been closed, and cordons have been lifted across the City. 214 people registered at the Civil Defence Welfare Centres during the event. 

Rangitikei District Council has also lifted their State of Emergency, and closed their EOC this afternoon. Ruapehu District Council, Manawatu District Council, Tararua District Council and Horowhenua District Council have also closed their Emergency Operation Centres. 

“As our focus now moves from response to recovery, Horizons’ Emergency Control Centre will be closed later today,” says Mr Shirley. 

“Horizons river management and hydrology teams will continue to monitor river levels, which continue to recede. Staff have removed the barriers at the Yacht Club and Kowhai Park in Whanganui, and will do the same at Quay West tomorrow. 

“There is still a lot of water moving through the Manawatu River, and the Moutoa floodgates will remain open until sometime in the early hours of tomorrow morning. 

“Our communities were quick to respond to evacuation messages and are a resilient group. While this event didn’t play out as predicted, it can still have an affect on people. A social support sub group, led by MidCentral District Health Board, has been put together with local welfare officers available throughout the Region.

“The coordinated response across the Region has been exceptional. Councils, Civil Defence agencies, communities and volunteers have certainly put in a lot of hours this week, with the assessment of roads and infrastructure likely to continue for a few more days. 

More information about support for the rural community will be available in the coming days. 
For anyone who may require financial assistance please contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or visit www.workandincome.govt.nz   

This is our last media update for this weather event. Further information will be shared via our Manawatu Wanganui Civil Defence Facebook as we work through recovery efforts.  https://www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui/ 

Members of the public are advised to check the status of roads before they start their journey, as some are still closed. People can call 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) or visit or
•             www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/8 
•             www.facebook.com/nztacni
•             www.twitter.com/NZTACNI 

Up-to-date information on river heights and rainfall is available via Horizons 24 hour toll-free Waterline 0508 4 FLOOD or via our Environmental Data.

For weather forecasting information please see www.metservice.co.nz