Clean-up continues in tornado-hit Papatoetoe; 62 homes declared uninhabitable

It's going to take a long time before normality returns for many Paptoetoe homeowners whose properties were damaged in yesterday’s tornado.

Fencing and insulation were strewn around the streets of Papatoetoe after a tornado. Source: 1 NEWS

Residents in the South Auckland are still in shock as they pick through what remains of their homes, covering broken roofs and boarding up windows.

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“We're trying to move forward and hopefully get a roof on so my mum can return home safely and we can clean up,” resident Evan Reece told 1 NEWS.

Elsewhere, a tangled mass of fallen trees, smashed cars, fences and trampolines could be seen strewn on the roads.

The aftermath of yesterday's tornado in Papatoetoe, Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

Sixty-two homes have been declared uninhabitable.

“I've been asking my neighbours, the policemen and the fire people to see if they could find my mailbox,” resident Deep Brar said.

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Rubbish trucks will be out in the South Auckland suburb after Saturday’s tornado, while Labour MP Kiri Allan assessed the damage in the East Cape after finishing chemotherapy recently. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland Council building inspectors have since assessed more than 240 homes which were hit by the tornado. 

"What was pleasing was that there were generally less homes that were considered unhabitable than first thought," Auckland Council's general manager building consents, Ian McCormick, said today in a statement.

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McCormack said minor damage ranged from smashed windows, lost roof tiles and partial sections of properties damaged. In some cases, properties had been damaged after being struck by secondary structures or outdoor furniture, while more severe cases saw roofs entirely blown off.

“Fortunately, we found there weren’t too many of those severe cases but what struck the team on the ground the most was the strength of mother nature and the weather,” McCormick said.

"There is still more assessment work to be done before we can provide a definitive tally of how many homes are uninhabitable."

Meanwhile, power workers are out looking to restore power to homes, which could be days away.

A single mum had spent tens of thousands of dollars renovating her home when its roof was smashed to pieces.

“I'm literally freaking out,” resident Sunita Whaval said.

A truck has been blown over onto its side on Atkins Ave. Source: 1 NEWS

Without insurance, the future is now a scary prospect for Whaval.

"I’m a single mum so yeah, it's going to be a huge burden on my shoulders now," she said.

Many here are now on the phone to insurance companies and builders have been deployed to fix the damage.

“Roofs just picked up and I don't know where they are, do you know what I mean? It's like, you'd think you'd be tidying up tin but it must be two or three streets down,” builder David Carnegie said.

Security is another concern, with Reece saying many are “staying in our houses to protect our homes”.

“There is definitely people who are going to take opportunity of that,” Brar added.

Others, meanwhile, are nervous about more bad weather on the way.

Acting Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi and Auckland mayor Phil Goff today toured the wreckage before announcing a $100,000 contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help affected residents.

“I wouldn't like to be in the shoes of anybody that exploited a tragedy like we've had here," Goff said.

People inside homes without proper roofs or boarded up windows have been advised to avoid lighting candles if possible due to the increased fire risk. Affected residents have also been reminded to look out for each other and stay safe.

A Givealittle page has since been set up to help the affected residents.