Edgecumbe community struggling to cope with damage after flooding

As the cleanup operation continues in Edgecumbe, families and businesses are still coming to terms with the damage impacting their community due to recent flooding.

Charelle Stevenson (Ngāti Awa), a shareholder in a family owned business in the area, says it has been a very difficult time for the entire community.

“We’ve had our own kāinga affected in different ways. My brother’s home has been condemned, my fathers has been deemed unlivable and mine has flooding damage. But overall the hardest part has been watching our community the devastation that struck our friends our whanau and our customers.”

The Government has announced an extra $700,000 will be made available to help businesses stay viable while the massive clean-up continues.

Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges says $200,000 will be available for Rural Assistance payments to help rural families with essential living costs, and an extra $250,000 will assist the Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers to assess crop damage. An extra $250,000 towards a Disaster Relief Fund will support businesses.

Charelle Stevenson says her family business, Peppers Building Supplies and others in the area are pleased with the announcement.

“We are really excited to hear the Minister has come to the party, but the details are still very loose, sketchy, we don’t know any of that detail so providing that the 100 businesses plus get to access those funds then that will be great.”

She says another huge problem for the area at the moment is access to their community. Although her business has insurance, a lot of people in the community do not.

“We are lucky, we have got insurance we’ve got business interruption insurance we have 6 staff so that’s vital for us to keep those wages coming for those 6 families.”

The Government says it will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional support if it is required.