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Buller community resiliency shines

13 Feb 2021

Buller District emergency management remains on alert with the weather from tropical ex-cyclone Dovi set to clear today.

Buller Deputy Mayor Sharon Roche says forecasts indicate that weather conditions should ease during the second half of today.

“Over the coming weeks, it’s going to be important for the community to understand that clean-up and remediation work will take time.

“Contractors have been working around the clock to repair faults and assess and plan for larger works after the weather has passed,” Sharon says.

“It’s been a wild ride for the community – we’ve had evacuations, flooding, slips, road closures, dump exposures, power outages and more. The resiliency of the community, contractors and emergency management teams has been put to the test.”

Emergency operations centre remains active

Staff remain at the Buller Emergency Operations Centre and local contractors continue to assess and repair any damage to roads, power, and water.

One power line has been reported down near the old Seddonville Library. Buller Electricity Limited will work to repair this as soon as possible and people are asked to remain away from the area as the line may still be live. It has been coned off.

“There’s been extensive damage to infrastructure across the district and it’s going to take time to assess, plan and repair this damage,” Sharon says.

“The recovery phase of this event is likely to last weeks, even months, but we want to reassure the community that we’re doing all we can to address areas that are most impacted.”

Northern Buller

“The roads to Karamea and Seddonville are still affected by slips.

“They’re being assessed as we speak, and plans worked through to re-open the road. Until then, it’s important to sit tight,” she says.

The weather continues to present hazardous driving conditions so please take care if travelling around the district today.

“Roading teams are flat out, working to safely repair these, but it will take time,” she says.

Reefton Landfill

Up to 200 metres of the Reefton landfill was exposed due to the flooding, and work was quickly carried out to temporarily cap the exposed area before ex-tropical cyclone Dovi passed through.

“Staff continue to monitor the area and plan for more permanent works.”

“Access has been challenging with weather and roading impacts, but staff are again, working as fast as they can to manage this site,” Sharon says.

“Teams will visit the site to collect the remaining rubbish when it is safe to do so.”

Waimangaroa water supply

“Staff and contractors have also continued working on the supply line to Waimangaroa today. The slips were worse than expected in some areas, so it’s going to take some time,” Sharon says.

“We understand it’s a challenging time for this community. Staff are doing all they can to restore it as soon as possible.”

Looking after each other

“Welfare remains a key priority for us – checking in with those who might need a hand.

“Currently there are four properties across the district that people aren’t able to occupy. There’s an additional 18 properties that had had some level of water inundation,” Sharon says.

That number may increase.

“It’s been a stressful and frightening time for many people in our community. Repairing and rebuilding will take time and be challenging, but I’m certain we’ll get through,” she says.

More information:

Local updates: Buller Emergency Management Facebook, Buller District Council website and Facebook
State Highways: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
Weather: MetService

For welfare support/advice call the EOC on 0800 243 533