Civil Defence Head Pays Tribute to Emergency Response

22 June 2013

Wellington Region Civil Defence Group Chair and Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan has today paid tribute to the hundreds of workers and volunteers who have toiled in atrocious conditions to get the storm-lashed region back on its feet.

Mayor Rowan says a lot of people have been working in unpleasant and often dangerous conditions to get power restored, roads reopened, damaged roofs secured and fallen trees removed.

“I want to thank and congratulate everyone who has had to get out there and get the region running again after what was a storm of quite frightening strength.

“However, the cleanup is by no means complete - some areas are still without power. And with continuing rain there is potential for flooding. It’s important to know that councils and utility companies are working hard in difficult and dangerous conditions to get the power back on and clear some of the blockages.”

Mayor Rowan says it will probably be weeks before some of the bigger fallen trees around the region are completely removed - and she asks people to take care out there.

“We have reports that slips are still coming down in parts of the region and that there are trees and branches that could still come down. If in doubt, steer clear of storm-damaged trees and let the experts do the cleanup.”

Mayor Rowan says given the continuing rain, people should look out for themselves and, where it is safe, take a few minutes to use a broom or shovel to clear leaves and debris out of drains around their homes. “I know council call centres are getting a steady stream of calls from residents reporting surface flooding today. Given that staff and contractors are hard-pressed with the general storm cleanup, it’d be great if some residents can lend us a hand.

Mayor Rowan says most main roads around the region are now open but that motorists should still take care. “You never know what might be around the corner - especially on some of our rural roads”.

She also urges people to check on friends and neighbours - especially in areas still without power. “It’s worth taking the time just to check on the elderly and vulnerable people or families with young children to make sure they’re warm and all right.”

Council staff and the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office are keeping a watching brief on the aftermath of the storm and any emerging problems.