Watch: Edgecumbe residents struggling in 'ghost town' after flood devastation


When the small Bay of Plenty town of Edgecumbe was devastated by floodwaters, residents were left in disbelief and limbo.

A month ago on Saturday the small town was swamped after the Rangitaiki River breached its stop bank.
Source: 1 NEWS

Tomorrow marks one month since houses were swamped when the Rangitaiki River breached its stop bank.

"It's a ghost town," resident Peter Riri told 1 NEWS.

He has moved back into his house, on a dusty street lined with dirt.

But there are no signs of any neighbours.

"It feels strange, eh. Weird."

This afternoon Edgecumbe Primary School finished its first week of Term 2. 

"Schools are the hub of a community, certainly in Edgecumbe the primary school and the college are real places for the community to come to," said principal Kahu Walker.

Ninety per cent of the school roll was affected by the floods, with the school now offering wrap-around services for mental health support, free buses to school and lunches.

"We have noticed that there are a few chinks in the armour. We have noticed that some of our children are showing those signs of trauma," Mr Walker said.

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne admitted residents are "struggling".

"Some are going ok and they're going forward. But there are a portion… who are really struggling. It is a concern for us," he said.

This week the council announced plans to ensure 100 flood-damaged homes can be made liveable by Christmas, regardless of whether they are insured or not.

More information about the independent review of the Rangitaiki River stop bank breach is expected to be made available next week, including the members of the panel and the terms of reference.

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