Papatoetoe tornado cleanup continues

By Te Ao - Māori News

So far 62 houses have been ruled uninhabitable in the worst-hit areas of Papatoetoe after a tornado wreaked destruction.

The tornado ravaged Papatoetoe on Saturday morning, tearing apart houses, injuring at least two people and killing contractor Janesh Prasad.

Prasad, who was a diesel mechanic for forklift business Stellar Machinery, was working at the South Auckland Freight Hub, in Wiri, when he was picked up by the tornado and thrown against an object.

More than 30 residents are still in emergency accommodation.

Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Parul Sood says response teams continued to assist the Papatoetoe community with clean-up today.

“Building inspection teams continue to visit homes affected by the tornado, waste collection is well underway and street clean up contractors continue their efforts,” she says.

Almost all inspected

“Response and inspection teams have visited almost all of the properties in the worst hit areas. However, the nature of tornadoes has them hopping down a path, which can sometimes mean small areas of damage quite a distance away from the main site.

“If you have not been visited by emergency services or inspection teams and have damage to your property that needs reporting or you need assistance, please phone us on 0800 22 22 00,” Ms Sood says.

People affected by the tornado in Papatoetoe who need help with accommodation, financial assistance and insurance advice can visit the Civil Defence Welfare Hub at Allan Brewster Leisure Centre, 7 Tavern Lane, Papatoetoe between 9am and 7pm.

If they cannot make it to the hub, please phone Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00 for assistance.

The Ōtara welfare centre has closed and has been replaced with an info hub at Allan Brewster Leisure Centre, 7 Tavern Lane, Papatoetoe between 9am and 7pm.

Throw away food

Normal waste collections have resumed.

Residents have been told to check with their insurer before they dispose of damaged items and take photographs for claims. Some insurers also cover food items.

If your home has been without power and residents need to dispose of spoiled food, they are asked to double bag it and put it in their normal refuse collection bin and not the recycling bin.

Financial assistance

The Ministry of Social Development says  Civil Defence payments are available for people who have been affected by the tornado. They don't have to be on a benefit to qualify.

Affected people can phone Work and Income on 0800 752 102 to make an application.

If they have urgent food needs as a result of being displaced by the tornado, they can look for providers on the Family Services Directory.

Residents have also been asked to take care with food from their fridge and freezer to avoid food poisoning and manage spoilage issues. Experts say that after more than two days without power, highly perishable foods may not be safe to eat.