RAIN EVENT #6 - Focus on welfare as rivers levels remain high

With the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina rivers remaining high, the welfare of communities that will potentially be impacted is a high priority with more rain forecasted this evening.

As part of the wider response the Region’s Welfare Advisory Group has been activated. Horizons group welfare manager Sarah Carswell held a conference call with district councils and welfare agencies this morning.

“I’m pleased to report that all parties are well prepared to meet the needs of their communities if conditions demand it this evening,” she says.

“Whanganui District Council is undertaking evacuations of the Putiki and Anzac Parade area from approximately midday today and have two Civil Defence Welfare Centres set up at Whanganui Girls’ College and St Paul’s Church. With a potential over topping of the Kowhai Park stopbanks tomorrow morning, those who were affected in 2015 are understandably nervous. We wish to assure them the welfare centres will offer all the help they can.

“Rangitikei District Council knocked on 193 doors last night, resulting in 53 people self evacuating. People have since been allowed back into their homes but a Civil Defence Centre is on standby until tomorrow.

“Manawatu, Tararua and Horowhenua District Council welfare teams are on standby for the next 24 hours and have also touched base with previous flood affected communities to ensure they know there is support available if they need it.

Mrs Carswell says Horizons has been in touch with a number of rural communities to date to pre-warn farmers of potential flooding and have provided animal welfare information.

“Feedback we’ve received to date is that the rural community felt well prepared for this event as they had enough warning to put measures in place. Tomorrow morning we are looking to undertake a reconnaissance flight which will provide the opportunity to identify any isolated properties that we may not be aware of and assist with providing information to guide longer term recovery efforts.

“With that in mind, if anyone knows of someone in their community who may be isolated or vulnerable and need help; please contact your district council welfare team.”

A number of welfare agencies such as the Red Cross are also on hand to assist with welfare needs.
“The Red Cross and NZ Defence Force are on the ground helping in Whanganui and the hospital is in touch with high need patients. For any members of the public who wish to help in anyway, please contact your district council in the first instance.”

The next update on river information will be at approximately 4pm. Our Manawatu Wanganui Civil Defence Facebook will continue to be updated https://www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui/

Members of the public are advised to take care while driving. As weather and road conditions can change rapidly, we advise people to check the status of roads before they start their journey. 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