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Edgecumbe evacuees offered temporary homes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/04/2017
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The government has opened up a temporary accommodation service to residents in flood-hit Edgecumbe as many people return to find their homes damaged.

About 1600 residents were evacuated from the town 10 days ago when a flood wall gave way as former Cyclone Debbie battered the region.

As a large-scale clean-up in the town continues, residents have been gradually allowed back to their homes - but many have found their houses "yellow stickered" or too damaged to live in.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith and Lead Minister for Edgecumbe Anne Tolley on Monday announced the government was activating its Temporary Accommodation Service for those that now found themselves without shelter.

"We are still assessing the damage to know how many homes will need to be replaced and how many repaired but it is clear assistance will be required for a significant number of families for temporary accommodation," Ms Tolley said.

Its team will collect collect registrations from displaced families and help find them accommodation.

The service was also used to home people after the Kaikoura and Christchurch earthquakes.

Dr Smith said the service was only the first step.

"We are working with Councils and other agencies on exploring options for emergency and temporary housing and the information obtained from this new service will help inform future decisions on the most appropriate support required," he said.

Meanwhile, an army of about 150 volunteers have been out helping residents move debris from homes and cleaning up silt from public areas on Monday.

While some home owners on Monday were frustrated with waiting for insurance assessors before cleaning up, the Insurance Council has advised they can take photos instead.

Whakatane Civil Defence has urged residents not to hose or wash mud into drains or the stormwater system.

Horizon Energy says some parts of the district are still also without power and are being gradually restored.

Boil water notices remain in place across much of the Whakatane District and water tankers have been brought in to Ruatoki, Taneatua, Waimana and Edgecumbe.

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