Buller District Council

Voluntary Evacuation in Westport Encouraged

3rd February, 2022

MEDIA RELEASE

The Buller Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) have received updated forecasting from MetService and NIWA for the next few days for Westport. More significant rainfall is set to come through Friday and into Saturday morning.

The EOC is working to make arrangements for any mandatory evacuations if required. This includes arranging evacuation centres for impacted the impacted community.

In the meantime, Local Controller, Bob Dickson is asking residents to self-evacuate if they can easily do so to friends and family outside of Westport. The Coast Road and the Buller Gorge are open, so moving east and south out of town are still safe options. The forecast is showing significant rain for northern Buller, so residents should avoid travelling north.

People can also self-evacuate to Greymouth where they have set up an evacuation centre at the Greymouth Baptist Church, (76 High Street) for Westport residents.
There is some local evacuation centres open at Sergeants Hill and Waimangaroa Community Hall but capacity is limited.

Self-evacuation is encouraged for those who experienced flooding in July last year as a precaution.

People self-evacuating need to remember to take their grab bags and pets with them. HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) have set up an animal shelter for domestic pets at Pamu Farms for those who cannot take their animals with them. If you are able to safely self-evacuate, please leave a note in your window to let authorities know everyone in your household has left.

Controller Dickson says “I know leaving your homes behind is very disruptive and distressing, but the community now has time to move safely before more rain sets in.”

“For those residents who cannot easily self-evacuate to stay with family or friends should prepare for possible evacuations in coming days.”

Further evacuation decisions will be made as the EOC receives more information around rainfall in the next 24 hours. The EOC will keep the community updated on Buller Emergency Management Facebook page, the Buller District Council website and radio.

 

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