Rural communities struggle after record flooding in North Island

The weekend’s rainstorm that has caused severe flooding in North Island has affected a lot of rural communities, specifically in Taranaki, Whanganui and Rangitikei.

One of the hardest-hit areas is Waitotara Valley, located West of Whanganui. A resident who lives near the valley said that this particular calamity was about the same as the big flood in 2009, when the river rose by 15 metres.

“We need to have a better grip on what’s actually happening in the rural community,” said Federated Farmers’ Whanganui president Brian Doughty.

Doughty added that the Federated Farmers, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), and the councils need to do assessment once the bad weather subsides.

“I would like MPI and whoever’s in control to make a decision about what sort of event this is, and to move on that fairly quickly, so we can actually look at some assistance for farmers and for the rural community – to get out there and start doing something,” he added.

The Civil Defence said that it is evaluating when it is safe for people to return to their homes. Right now, phone communications remain difficult, but repairs are already being done.

“It seems wireless and satellite broadband are our only form of communication at the moment, because there’s not much coverage once you get away from the front country for anything like cell phones,” said Tim Matthews, who farms between Whanganui and Hunterville.

As of posting time, Whanganui, Taranaki, and Rangitikei remain under a state of emergency, so everyone who have evacuated their houses must not return home until the area has been assessed.

Here are the following links for updates:

Flooding Updates for Rangitikei

Waitara flood protection update, June 2015

Taranaki flooding news