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Updates on 16 February: What residents in Tairāwhiti, Coromandel and Hawke’s Bay need to know

RNZ understands communities in cut-off regions have limited reception and are unable to download articles and live updates which contain visuals and other embedded information. Updates posted here will contain text only, specifically so those of you in this position can read them.

These updates will be aimed at people in Piha, Coromandel Peninsula, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne/ Tairāwhiti.

Please look for your region, new updates will have the time they are being posted so people have the most current information.

*Look back here for Wednesday’s text-only updates.

* Read more (contains visuals): Live Cyclone Gabrielle updates: Four deaths, ‘grave concerns’ for several missing

Hawke’s Bay

2.33pm: The Waitangi Bridge at Awatoto in the Hawkes Bay is open to regular traffic, but emergency vehicles and supply trucks will be prioritised.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says delays in crossing the bridge are likely due to it being the only open Napier-Hastings connection.

Hastings has at least six petrol stations open, while access to fuel is limited in Napier. Fuel supplies in Napier are expected to be restocked in the next two days and more petrol stations will be connected to generators.

2.27pm: Refuge and Migrant Services says the 12 RSE workers unaccounted for in Hawke’s Bay earlier today have been located. General Manager Fiona Whiteridge says the workers are being cared for.

2.18pm: Waka Kotahi/The Transport Agency hopes to reopen SH2 between Hastings and Napier this evening after checks on the Ngaruroro River bridge – until then there is no way through.

Another road, SH51 nearer the coast, reopened briefly last night and was busy this morning, according to motorists – but it shut again earlier today for checks on the bridge at Clive. Waka Kotahi said those Clive bridge checks may have to wait till low tide tomorrow.

12.20pm: The Clive Bridge on SH51 between Napier and Hastings has been closed for a safety assessment.

12.05pm: The fuel situation is improving, and generators have been given to some fuel stations. One at the BP distribution point means the fuel at that facility can be distributed to fuel stations, which is happening now.

12pm: Officials are planning to get an 0800 number set up but with the problems with connectivity at the moment it is not the highest priority.

11.50am: Napier port has reported minimal damage to its infrastructure. Shipping will resume on Friday following safety assessments.

11.06am: The national power grid operator says it has made changes to get enough power to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne for 90,000 households. Transpower says a check by chopper shows a pylon tower has fallen between Redclyffe and the Fernhill substations next to the Ngaruroro river The agency says this has limited impacts and is not a safety threat.

11.03am: The Waitangi Bridge at Awatoto in the Hawke’s Bay is open to regular traffic, but emergency vehicles and supply trucks will be prioritised. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says delays in crossing the bridge are likely due to it being the only open Napier to Hastings connection.

It says people are expected to travel into Hastings because it has at least six petrol stations open, while access to fuel is limited in Napier. Fuel supplies in Napier are expected to be restocked in the next two days and more petrol stations will be connected to generators.

10.58am: Of about 40,000 homes without power across Hawke’s Bay, almost 32,000 of those are in and around Napier. Unison said electricity was being progressively restored to them. The regional council had said online that “the power outage in Napier is expected to be at least two weeks.” But Unison spokesperson Danny Gough said “two weeks would be the worst-case scenario”.

10.52am: A generator supplier based in the South Island is sending generators up to flood affected regions in the North Island. QPower Director Don Biss said several generators would be shipped on Thursday to help power Hawke’s Bay businesses.

10.46am: Elective surgeries, endoscopy services, and outpatient appointments in some places are cancelled in Hawke’s Bay for Thursday and Friday.

Te Whatu Ora says affected patients are being contacted and offered a telehealth appointment or rebooked as soon as possible.

Outpatient appointments in Napier, Hastings, Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay are cancelled.

Three acute theatres and radiology are operating at Hawke’s Bay Hospital in Hastings, and urgent clinics are open in Napier and Hastings.

Te Whatu Ora understands people are worried about the whereabouts of loved ones, however, people should not to come into the Hawke’s Bay Emergency Department unless seeking urgent medical care.

Te Whatu Ora interim national medical director Pete Watson told Morning Report because not all staff could be at the hospital due to the weather-related problems, such as transportation, they were having to reduce non-urgent care and prioritise urgent care.

They were working with agencies to ensure they continue receiving the required supplies, such as oxygen supply, blood supply and medical supplies, he said.

Some primary care services have also been impacted by the weather, but if people in those areas need medical care, they can make their way to evacuation centres where they will be supported to go to a medical centre or the hospital.

8.36am: MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Hawkes Bay from 3pm – 10pm on Thursday. A few of the thunderstorms could be severe about the ranges of Hawke’s Bay with localised downpours of 25mm to 40mm per hour and hail.

8.26am: Countdown’s Gisborne, Carlyle (Napier) and Napier supermarkets are still closed, but managing director Spencer Sonn told RNZ they were hoping to reopen the Napier and Carlyle supermarkets later on Thursday.

8.20am: Two New World supermarkets, Onekawa (Napier) and Havelock North, were closed on Thursday morning and eight Four Squares in Hawke’s Bay were not able to open. Foodstuffs is using a helicopter to get produce to Wairoa, and hopes to have road access there on Friday.

7.54am: Napier City Council says water in the taps is safe to drink and it’s important to stay hydrated but use water wisely. Don’t rush to flush, limit showering, do the dishes by hand, wash clothes by hand. Don’t wash down paving and driveways.

7.15am: Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence update:

  • Power: The power outage in Napier is expected to be at least two weeks. More details on this to come. Emergency power has been provided for Wellesley Road Medical Centre, Countdown, Caltex Napier
  • Water: NCC has connected generators to drinking water supplies, this has assisted with pressure. Napier urges its residents to conserve water while this temporary fix in place. Napier’s wastewater treatment plant is discharging untreated sewage through the outfall to sea, residents are urged to not consume kai moana. It is unknown when the treatment plant will be repaired – to make an assessement we need flood waters to recede and power to be restored. Napier City Council urges residents to only flush toilets when necessary.
  • Roading: SH51 Clive – Waitangi Bridge is open to the public, however expect delays, this enables movement between the cities and logistics to Napier. Caution is advised due to road conditions and heavy volumes of traffic.The roading networks north of Napier have been severely compromised with multiple slips and bridge wash outs, assessments have yet to be completed on all of these roads.South of SH2 is open but caution is urged due to flood damage.There are a number of other roads now open with flood damage – please travel with caution.
  • Fuel: Fuel supplies have been secured and local stock will be replenished when the port opens – at this stage on Friday 17 February.
  • Food: There is no need to panic buy as roads are opening and supermarkets are being restocked as are other essential services.

6.49am A rapid relief team reached Wairoa on Wednesday night with 500 food packages to hand out.

6.32am Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence said SH51 between Napier and Clive reopened at 8pm Wednesday following assessment by engineers.

6.20am HMNZS Te Mana will sail to Napier today to supply Wairoa with water and other essential supplies.

Gisborne / Tairāwhiti

2.26pm: Tairāwhiti Civil Defence says a short-term solution to bring essential supplies into the region has started today. It says trucks carrying food, water and fuel will travel between Ōpōtiki and Te Karaka on State Highway 2 in a managed convoy.

Civil Defence says there will be two trips a day, one going south from Ōpōtiki in the morning and returning in the afternoon. The road is still closed to the public for the safety of contractors repairing the road between convoys.

1.10pm: Hikuai to Whangamatā is now open for essential travel only between Opoutere Road and SH25A (Hikuai) following a closure for slip clearance this morning.

12.10pm: Ūawa has been hard hit by flooding and forestry slash, with the Hikuwai Bridge on State Highway 35 north washed away. It says Anaura Bay residents are fine, but they have no electricity or no way in or out of the settlement.

12pm: Communications is still severely limited to Ūawa/Tolaga Bay on the East Coast. Civil Defence says it is operating from the school in the town, which it says is okay but cut off. There is a $50 limit for fuel at the town garage, cash only, and the medical centre was open for supplies this morning.

11am: Federated Farmers national board member and local farmer Sandra Faulkner is involved with the rural hub set up as part of the Emergency Management operation in Gisborne. She said every effort was being made to find ways to contact isolated farms and ascertain needs, but one of the challenges was a shortage of AvGas for helicopters.

8.36am: MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Hawkes Bay from 3pm – 10pm on Thursday. A few of the thunderstorms could be severe about the ranges of Gisborne, and Gisborne north of Tolaga Bay, with localised downpours of 25mm to 40mm per hour and hail.

8.20am: Foodstuffs has been using a helicopter to get supplies into Tokomaru Bay, Tolaga Bay and Ruatoria. The supermarket chain is hoping to get road access to Tairāwhiti on Thursday morning in a guided convoy, its chief executive says.

6.30am Another person has died in the cyclone. Police announced a person had died in Gisborne. They say the person is believed to have been caught in flood waters. Four other deaths were already reported, three in Hawke’s Bay and one in Muriwai, Auckland.

6.25am Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is due to fly to Gisborne this morning in what will be his first in-person look at the scale of destruction from the cyclone.

6.20am HMNZS Manawanui set sail for Tairāwhiti at 5pm on Wednesday and was due to arrive at first light Thursday, loaded with water supplies.

Auckland / Northland

2.21pm: Auckland Council says it is appalling individuals are impersonating council officers to enter people’s homes. Council officers will be in a council shirt and have council identification, and should not need to enter properties.

People should ask to see identification before letting anyone inside their homes and anyone concerned about a fraudulent visit should contact police.

2.20pm: Auckland Council says roads blocked by fallen trees and slips continue to be a key challenge to restoring power in the region. Today, Vector is reporting around 16,000 properties without power, and Counties Energy approximately 990 properties.

2.08pm: Civil Defence in Auckland says the priorities today include getting supplies into devastated western parts of the region, but there are lots of risks – slips and damaged roads.

1.08pm: Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Rachel Kelleher says land around the western beach communities remains unstable and people should have a plan to leave quickly, especially if there are slips.

She says the focus today remains on communities that have been isolated by the landslips and flooding, in particular Piha, Karekare, Te Henga (Bethells Beach) and Muriwai.

Yesterday afternoon, 12 tonnes of supplies were delivered by air and ground into some of these areas, she said. Today, they are working to get essential supplies to families isolated at Kaipara Flats and Bethells and properties in other parts of Auckland. They are taking additional water to Muriwai and are hoping to do the same for Piha.

12.45pm: Auckland Emergency Management is urgently asking Helensville and Parakai residents to “please reduce your water use urgently, any way you can, as your local water treatment plant continues to be severely impacted by the affects of the cyclone”.

10.55am: Damage assessments are getting underway in the swamped Kaipara town of Dargaville, where some residents spent a third night in evacuation centres. The call was made Wednesday evening for people who live near the Wairoa River, in the centre of town, to evacuate again.

The head of Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, Antony Thompson, says a large swathe of town was flooded yet again, though it wasn’t as bad as previous night’s. Some in remote areas were predicted to remain without power for a week or two.

“In our remote areas – Pouto Peninsula, for example, and Tinopai that are very remote – no power, no communications, no cellphone coverage. We’re going out to have a look at those homes when it’s safe to do so.”

“We’re starting to work with some marae to step up generators and mobile shower units so people can go to marae, do what they need to do, and then go back home again.”

5.42pm Wednesday: Auckland Emergency Management contracted a private helicopter to help deliver supplies to the region’s coastal communities cut off by road. It delivered food and welfare supplies to the Karekare community. Response teams were dropped into the area to undertake welfare checks.

Waikato including Coromandel Peninsula

10.51am: Essential traffic is now using SH25 between Hikuai and Whangamata. Some clean-up work is still being carried out and there are some traffic delays. Numerous trucks are heading into the region carrying supplies. A fleet of Fonterra milk tankers are making their way onto the peninsular.

SH2 through the Karangaheke Gorge between Waihi and Paeroa is fully open and there are no delays.

6.46am Overnight road closures:

SH23 Karakariki Rd and Waitentuna Valley Rd

SH25 Tapu to Ruamahunga; Te Rerenga to Kuaotunu

SH25A closed the entrie length

National Emergency Management Agency advice:

  • Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water. Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
  • Do not try to walk, play, swim, or drive in floodwater: even water just 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet, and half a metre of water will carry away most vehicles.
  • If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
  • If you don’t need to evacuate, support those who do by staying home, staying off roads and staying safe.
  • If you are not able to contact your whānau in the heavily affected areas go to Police 105 website and complete the inquiry form or phone 105 and remember to update if you reconnect through other means.
  • Throw away food and drinking water that has come into contact with floodwater as it is often contaminated and can make you sick.
  • If you are without power eat the food from your fridge first, then your freezer. Then eat the food in the cupboard or your emergency kit.
  • People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of civil defence and emergency services.
  • A National State of Emergency is in place for an initial period of seven days and applies to regions that have declared a local State of Emergency.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/484304/updates-on-16-february-what-residents-in-tairawhiti-coromandel-and-hawke-s-bay-need-to-know Updates on 16 February: What residents in Tairāwhiti, Coromandel and Hawke’s Bay need to know

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