Some Edgecumbe residents were able to return to their homes to collect much-needed items today. For those that heard the announcement at Rautahi Marae in Kawerau, it is what they have wanted to hear since having been evacuated from the township.
Residents have wanted to return home since Thursday. Now they can.
Dolly Ransfield (Ngāti Whare) says, “I'm not looking forward at going home at the moment because I don't want to see what's happened like the flooding that's sort of thing damage that has been done.”
1600 Edgecumbe people have been displaced since flood waters rushed into the town on Thursday. Today some were given an opportunity to visit their homes and only get items that they need. This may include medication. But residents have huge concerns about people looting their homes.
Ransfield says, “Brings tears to your eyes when they do that sort of thing, why? Can't they help themselves we can they can simple as that."
Edgecumbe residents returning to their homes today will only get 15 minutes to get in and get what they need. But restrictions are still in place in the area according to the local council in the area.
Whakatāne MayorTony Bonne says, “Remember there is no sewage or water in that area at the moment so until that is up and running people can't live there."
As the water levels receded, major works are currently taking place in Edgecumbe. But for these residents, all they want is to return to their homes.