'Keeping our spirits up' - volunteers mucking in to help flood-stricken Edgecumbe locals clean up

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Residents in some parts of Edgecumbe have been allowed back in to their homes to start the clean-up, but they haven't been alone in their toiling. 

As evacuated residents returned to their homes, volunteers turned up in droves to help with the town's clean-up.
Source: 1 NEWS

Hundreds of people in white boiler suits are walking the sodden streets of the Bay of Plenty town helping with the clean-up after severe flooding.

Armed with wheel barrows, brooms and smiles the volunteers are waking door-to-door checking on locals and throwing furniture into bins.

"You have to crack the whip with a bit of humour, because if you be morbid, you aren't going to be any good to anybody," volunteer Lolo Hale told 1 NEWS. 

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said some in the community remains unhappy, but in the fullness of time, an inquiry will answer people's questions.

"I want answers to the questions too... We'll get those out of it (the inquiry), and we'll come out a stronger Edgecumbe," he said. 

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne and volunteer Lolo Hale are rallying to help the flood victims.
Source: 1 NEWS

Their worst fears were realised as more residents of the town were allowed home for the first time since last week's flood.
Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile residents say the extra help "is mean as".

From midday, residents in zone 4 will be allowed access to their homes. There are 229 houses in zone 4.

Of those; 14 are red stickered, 174 are yellow stickered and 41 are white stickered (safe to occupy).

A total of nearly 500 people have registered as volunteers to support the ongoing clean-up effort in Edgecumbe, Whakatane District Council said in a statement. 

Roads reopen

Meanwhile, several main roads in the Bay of Plenty district have been reopened: SH25 Thames coast expected to be open 3pm today; SH25 Kereta washout will have a priority giveaway (one way) installed; SH25 Whangamata bypass road - expected to be reopened by 5pm today; SH25a stop/go in place due to slip expected to be open to both lanes by 3pm today; SH 2 Karangahake both lanes open with 30km/h speed limit in place.

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