Some farming communities and holidaymakers remain isolated from the rest of Marlborough after the weekend’s extreme flooding, the region’s Mayor says.
John Leggett told Breakfast authorities today would be making “every effort” to check in on those affected. They include residents in the Waihopai Valley, who were cut off after the Māori Ford bridge — their only way in and out — was washed out.
Meanwhile, slips on Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock continue to leave some residents cut off too.
Leggett said while most of Marlborough’s 900 evacuees have now returned home, a “very small pocket” of people still aren’t able to because of surface flooding. He said pumps were working to clear the water.
State Highway 61 between Renwick to Tophouse also remains closed today and isn’t expected to re-open until tomorrow, he said.
Up-to-date details about road closures can be found on the Waka Kotahi NZTA website.
Leggett said the full extent of the damage is still being assessed.
“It is grim. From my point of view, when you look at people that are asked to vacate their homes and move in with friends, relatives, it’s pretty tough. But, we’ve had a really good response - people responded very well in times of emergency.”
Council engineers said the region's stopbank network, despite the deluge, worked “remarkably well”, Leggett said.
“We’ve got to be really grateful for that.”
He welcomed the Government’s announcement yesterday that $600,000 had been set aside to help people affected by the flood. The funding includes an initial contribution of $300,000 towards a Buller Mayoral Relief Fund and another $100,000 towards a similar fund for Marlborough.
The weekend of wild weather has been classified by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) as a medium-scale event, unlocking a further $200,000 for flood-affected farmers and growers across the West Coast and Marlborough regions.
“It’ll get the process started … the Government has said once we get a really good assessment of the damage in the region here, there may be further assistance available. We’re hoping that will be the case,” Leggett said.