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Scientists to study Edgecumbe flooding

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017

© Rex Images Scientists are set to examine how floodwaters damaged Edgecumbe's homes in a bid to better prepare other New Zealand regions for natural disasters.

The Bay of Plenty town was flooded and its residents evacuated earlier this month when the Rangitaiki River breached a stopbank.

The river's floodwaters were fast-moving and deep, causing significant structural damage to the town's buildings.

NIWA and GNS Science scientists will now take a closer look at the damage by recording high-water marks inside the buildings along with details about how and what materials they were made from.

They will also look at damage to building joineries and the contents inside homes when they begin their survey on May 1.

"We are trying to build a relationship between the damage observed, the type of building and how it was constructed," NIWA hazards analyst Ryan Paulik said.

The results could reveal patterns about how a flood's depth or speed affects the level of damage it will cause and can then be used to estimate the effects floods might have in districts across New Zealand.

"[This] information is vital for improving our knowledge and is used to support better land use planning and emergency management," Mr Paulik said.

According to a joint analysis by NIWA and GNS Science, at least 450 buildings in Edgecumbe were affected by floodwaters.

This includes 234 residential properties, 15 non-residential and 200 outbuildings or other buildings.

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