Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is focused on the region’s recovery and helping the community get back on its feet.
Regional Council chair Hinewai Ormsby says that while today marks the one-month anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle, her thoughts are with those in the community who lost whānau and friends, and those who have lost homes, businesses and livelihoods.
“Many people in the community are struggling and on a long road to recovery. We will support the community in any way we can to move forward and we will do this through kindness and collaboration.”
The Regional Council has taken on a major role in the response with 205 staff working over 23,000 hours from 14 February to 5 March this year.
Regional Council statistics:
Rain and river level monitoring
Disaster Relief Trust
Chair Ormsby says that key to the region’s recovery will be finding ways our council can help those impacted by the floods to help themselves.
“It’s been incredible to see how people have mobilised to support each other, from the incredible community led volunteer movement, to the mammoth efforts from several agencies to repair infrastructure and get communities connected again.”
Regional Council rainfall data shows this was the most significant event in the region’s history since records began, with rainfall levels 500% above normal, and river flow averaging more than 1000% above normal.
“The Regional Council is working hard to repair stop banks to protect the community from future rainfall – this has been a massive effort involving a crew of 160 people who are doing rapid repairs to breached stop banks.
Temporary protection in the form of bunding (banks of gravel) have been put in place at most sites, and further protection in the form of waterproof plastic wrapping will be finished this week. Permanent repairs to the stop banks will take some months, and the team are working as quickly as possible, she says.
The Regional Council has restored 113 rain and river level monitoring sites and repaired all damaged pump stations.
As the community has experienced, the aftermath of the cyclone resulted in large volumes of waste - silt, wood debris, posts and wire, hazardous chemicals and mixed waste.
The Council is working with local councils on the disposal of wood waste from beaches and rivers, and has been clearing logs and debris from bridges – especially where stop banks need to be repaired. The Council is picking up and disposing of silt from rural properties.
The region’s much-loved parks – Waitangi, Pakowhai, Pekepaka, Tutira and Waipatiki – experienced significant damage. The Council is working through a plan to re-open them as soon as it is safe, and a phased reopening is looking likely later this month.
“As a region, we have a huge job ahead of us, and moving forward will test our resilience, but one foot in front of another, we will get through this and we will recover,” says Chair Ormsby.
13 March 2023
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