Buller District Council

Rivers, flooding and ongoing rain continue to provide challenges in Westport

17th July, 2021

Media Release 5
Severe weather event Buller District

17 July 2021

19:00 hours

Rivers, flooding and ongoing rain continue to provide challenges in Westport

Extremely high and fast water levels have isolated the Buller town of Westport after the Buller and Orowaiti River bridges were closed today.

Emergency Management’s key message for Westport residents evacuated last night is to stay another night with family and friends or in community welfare centres, Local Controller Bob Dickson says.

“The rivers are still extremely high and dangerous.  We’re expecting more rain overnight, and with current flood levels and bridges closed, it’s unsafe to return home.”

If residents feel unsafe, or have an emergency, phone 111.

People are also being asked to conserve water and be aware floodwaters could be contaminated, so wash your hands if you’ve been in contact.

“A burst in the water main means we’re now asking Carters Beach residents to save water for essential use only. A Water Conservation Notice was issued earlier today for Westport, and Punakaiki.”

Residents are also reminded to minimise the use of toilets, showers, washing machines and dishwashers, which add load to the town sewerage system.

More Westport residents have continued to be evacuated today.

Welfare Centres are open at:

  • Phelan Hall, enter off Queen Street by the Catholic Church
  • Westport South School, 165 Derby Street – use the Derby street entrance.
  • Salvation Army, 20 Henley Street
  • Carters Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
  • NBS Theatre, 105 Palmerston St
  • Club Buller, 44 Queen Street

If residents have a pet they are worried about, call the Buller Emergency Operation Centre on 03 789 7999.

People who are happy to donate clean and usable spare mattresses, blankets, and sleeping bags are asked to call 027 212 8728 to arrange a pick-up by the New Zealand Response Team.

MPI, Federated Farmers and Civil Defence are working with affected Buller farmers.  If farmers need support please contact 0800 787 254 or Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646.

“There is plenty of food in Westport and no need to buy more than you need for the next day or two.  We understand this is a stressful time, and we very much appreciate the patience and care people have been showing to each other.  Stay put, stay safe, look after yourself and your neighbours.  Essential travel only at the moment, please stay off the roads so emergency services don’t have to worry about you.”

“The situation will be reviewed mid-morning tomorrow,” Mr Dickson says.

Buller Emergency Operation Centre’s phone number is 03 789 7999.



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Media contacts

EOC Public Information Management Officer

Mira Schwill 027 246 2588



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