One storm after another

Work gets underway on clearing up debris from Nuhiti Bridge in Gisborne. Photo: Supplied

Contractors, Gisborne District Council workers, Central Government agencies, communities, neighbours and strangers have all joined forces to move into clean-up mode on the back of a prolonged weather event late in March followed by Cyclone Fili last month.

Even before the remnants of tropical cyclone Fili many areas were already in recovery mode, like Tokomaru Bay where many had only just finished cleaning up from the last one.

“It calls for a big effort from everyone,” says Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann.

“We will be doing an assessment of needs, prioritising what needs to be done when and then ensuring there are the resources to get that work done.”

Woody debris on beaches across the region will be closely looked at too.

“If it appears there have been breaches of the Resource Management Act, Council will carry out further investigations,” Thatcher Swann says.

The damage from the cyclone was still being assessed but she says the clean-up from the March event is huge because of how widespread it is.

“Anecdotally people have compared it to Cyclone Bola but it affected different areas within our region and people differently, so it’s hard to measure.”

She says it is too early to estimate the cost of the clean-up but whatever that is will be met by the government and council.

“Clean-up efforts like this require people power and machinery, some of which we may need to bring in from out of town, but we are still assessing just what is needed.”

The priority continues to be to reconnect the region, to ensure people can move around, visit whānau and have access to groceries and medicines.

Thatcher Swann says up to $500,000 Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) funding will be made available to help with the clean-up.

This $500k will help employ people for the clean-up, complementing the $175k Mayoral Relief Fund already contributed by the Government.

“As a council we are working closely with Central Government and regional agencies to ensure our hard-hit coastal communities get the assistance they need.”

Farmers and growers can self-register for clean-up help by contacting 0800 834434 TFG HELP, and anyone interested in being employed for this work can register by email


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