While the weather has settled this week in Tāmaki Makaurau, the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle are still being felt, particularly in our isolated communities.
Auckland Emergency Management Deputy Controller Rachel Kelleher says that while it has been a difficult time for many, it has been great to see the community come together. Whether that is supporting a neighbour, a kind word to our teams on the ground or helping as a volunteer.
“We are continuing to respond to our communities’ needs, including the delivery of emergency provisions like bottled water, food, sanitary items and more,” says Rachel.
“Over the weekend essential supplies were delivered to some of our more isolated communities by helicopter and truck and this continued yesterday. We expect more deliveries to take place throughout the week.”
For the specifics, via air we delivered to Karekare:
- 35 x 20L 91 fuel
- 125 items of food
- 20m of extension cords
- A generator for the community hub
- A flexi bin for Karekare school
And via road we delivered:
- Pallets of water and food for Piha
- Flexi-bags and additional extension cords for Muriwai
Auckland Emergency Management is continuing to work closely with its partner agencies to provide on-the-ground support at the community hubs in Muriwai, Karekare and Piha. At present there is welfare, insurance and financial support available, as well as advice on accommodation assistance.
Aucklanders are reminded to avoid these areas as we work on the response.
“Last weekend, we asked Aucklanders not to go to our West Coast beaches and avoid Karekare, Piha, Anawhata, Te Henga Bethells, and Muriwai. This week, we continue to remind those who are not residents to please stay away.”
Auckland Council director regulatory services Craig Hobbs said, as of 10am today, 2766 homes across the region had received either red or yellow placards from both Cyclone Gabrielle and the flooding events.
“That’s a significant number of impacted people and families,” he said.
The updated placard figures for Cyclone Gabrielle are:
- Red: 213
- Yellow: 266
- White: 885
“If your property or street has been deemed unsafe, please do not attempt to stay there or access it. This is not just for your own safety but for our teams, emergency services and partner agencies,” added Craig.
Civil Defence Centres
Civil Defence Centres, shelters, community support hubs, and community-led centres are still open for people needing refuge from Cyclone Gabrielle. We will continue to provide this support where it is needed and while it is needed.
There are now eight civil defence centres, shelters and information hubs open across the Auckland region. Overnight, we had 61 people staying in our Civil Defence Centres.
As we pivot to recovery, we will be closing the Trusts Arena CDC today and moving this centre to Te Pae o Kura/community centre Kelson at 5pm today, Tuesday 21st February.
There are still widespread power outages throughout affected communities.
In addition to the crews on the ground, Vector has been sending staff to talk to people in the worst-hit communities to see what support they need while they wait for their power to be restored.
Yesterday, members of the legal, HR, and office-based electricity, gas and fibre teams also joined Vector’s customer team to reach out to those in need.
Remember, if you don’t need temporary accommodation but are without power, you can charge your phones or use the Wi-Fi at your local library.
Additionally, people can visit our pools or leisure centres for a hot shower, if needed.
Tap water remains safe to drink and water supply across all sites has been restored, except Muriwai.
In Muriwai, a tanker is providing emergency water, located at Sand Dunz Cafe.
Watercare are closely monitoring our wastewater treatment plants. They are currently stable, and the wastewater networks have mostly recovered from the cyclone.
You can find further information and the latest updates on Watercare’s website.
Waste solutions: Proper disposal of sandbags
Our Waste Solutions team have been working on a solution for the proper disposal of sandbags. As you can imagine, this varies depending on what the sandbag has come into contact with.
- If your sandbags have been contaminated with flood water, they should be properly disposed of in landfill.
- You can take these and other flood-damaged materials to your nearest transfer station, give our team a call on 0800 22 22 00 to book a time to drop these off, and see our website for more details.
- Contaminated sandbags and their contents should not be reused.
- Contaminants might include sewage or septic waste, animal waste, oil and gasoline residue, lawn chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, or other hazardous chemicals.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when handling and ensure areas that come in contact with contaminated sandbags are disinfected.
- If your sandbags have not come into contact with flood water, they may be stored on your property for reuse. However, mould can become a problem if they are wet. If sandbags have come into contact with rain or sea water you can wash the bags with hot soapy water, dry well in the sun for a few days and store in a clean dry place out of the sun.
- Sand from inside the sandbag may be reused on your property – on your lawns or garden beds – assuming the material is not used to fill a wetland or other protected area.
- Clean, empty bags may be reused or disposed of in your rubbish bin.
- Please remember, any sandbags placed on the kerbside will not be picked up as a part of your normal weekly collection or as part of the kerbside flood waste collection.
- Uncontaminated and full sandbags may be dropped off to the Waitakere Refuse Transfer Station for reuse.
A reminder that six of our regional parks remain closed and will be reassessed tomorrow. These parks are:
- Ātiu Creek Regional Park
- The western side of Hunua Ranges Regional Park, including Hunua Falls
- Muriwai Regional Park
- Tāwharanui Regional Park
- Te Rau Pūriri Regional Park
- Waitākere Ranges Regional Park
The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park closure includes Te Henga Walkway as the cyclone has caused significant damage to Te Henga walkway, with numerous large slips along the length of the track.
The walkway runs along the coastline between Te Henga/Bethells Beach and Muriwai Beach.
If you need any information about the floods or the cyclone, you can find this at our website aem.org.nz or please call us on 0800 22 22 00.