State of emergency in Tairāwhiti

By Te Ao - Māori News

Flash flooding has triggered a state of emergency across Tairāwhiti as the region is engulfed by torrential rain.

MetService says more than 17cm of rain has fallen in the 36 hours to 4pm. Civil Defence issued their alert just before 2pm.

Several roads including Rutene rd and Kaiaua rd are closed, while State Highway 2 at the intersection with Pilmer road is flooded. A slip has also come down Makorori hill.

Some residents in Sponge Bay have self-evacuated as flood waters rise. Those in Kaiti and riverside residents in Taruheru are also advised to prepare to evacuate.

Widespread power outages are currently affecting the region and council is warning about rising flood waters from the awa.

'High tide is at 6pm we advise if you’re in a low lying area to be prepared to evacuate, as the river can rise quickly.' it said in a statement.

Welfare centres for those affected have been established at the Wainui School Hall, Salvation Army on Gladstone Road and the House of Breakthrough.

Those in need of assistance should call 0800 653 800