Buller District Council

Buller residents and visitors asked to stay put

17th July, 2021

Media Release 4
Severe weather event Buller District
17 July 2021
09:53 hours

The Buller River is at 12-metres high with more rainfall from the ranges to come, the local emergency status remains in place. Civil Defence is conscious of peoples’ desire to return home. However, until it is clear that the river level and flood risk reduce to a safer level people are asked to stay where they are unless they are at risk. The mandatory evacuations remain in place.

If people are concerned for their safety phone 111.

Police, Fire, Civil Defence, and Defence Force personnel are on the ground providing assistance in Buller.

Four welfare centres are open to provide support to people who need a safe place to go.

Buller District Mayor Jamie says close to 500 people spent Friday night in community welfare centres across Westport and they are asked to remain there until at least until lunchtime when an update will be provided.

Last night, 823 people from 374 houses were evacuated over four-hours. Some went to friends and family and, others used the community welfare accommodation provided.”

Buller Emergency Management Emergency Operation Centre controller Bob Dickson says co-operation from the community helped authorities efficiently relocate those at most risk.

“Thank you to everyone who followed authorities’ official advice to evacuate when requested. We appreciate this may have been a concerning and unsettling time for many.

The risks and threats remain real. It is essential people stay where they are unless their safety is at risk.”

Help from outside the district arrived in Westport on Friday night to assist the Buller Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and co-ordinating partner agencies.

Police, Fire Service, LandSAR, and Defence Force have been working together to activate the response to the severe weather event.

Dickson says the additional resources on the ground and people following instructions from emergency personnel helped the evacuation go smoothly.

People in Buller are advised to continue to listen to local radio stations.

Advice is available at www.westcoastemergency.govt.nz, and www.bullerdc.govt.nz, and on Buller Emergency Management’s Facebook page. Local radio stations are also broadcasting updates.

The EOC has staff ready to take enquiries on 03 789 7999.

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#ENDS

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Media contacts

EOC Public Information Management Officer

Lisa Gregory 027 246 2588

bdc.pim@bdc.govt.nz

 

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