News | Environment
21 Feb 2018 14:17
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  •   Home > News > Environment

    West Coast continues recovery from storm

    State Highway 6 on the West Coast has reopened, allowing hundreds of trapped tourists in Haast and Fox Glacier to get back on the road.

    West Coast communities are continuing to mop up after Thursday's storm and stranded tourists are on the move again but more rain is forecast.

    Buller Civil Defence says it it has lifted the state of emergency but the NBS Theatre welfare centre will at be open on Sunday to help with the ongoing recovery operation.

    Further south, traffic is moving in the Westland District, with the NZ Transport Agency reopening State Highway 6 at 11am on Saturday.

    Hundreds of travellers had to wait for slips to be cleared, and 117 had spent a night in cars on Thursday before making it to the township of Fox Glacier on Friday.

    Westland District Council's emergency operations centre controller Simon Bastion says contractors are progressively restoring essential services to communities.

    "Getting water, sewerage, power and telecommunications back are major milestones," he says.

    Power was restored to the full grid in Hokitika on Saturday and Fox Glacier township is expected to have power by Sunday afternoon. Work is continuing to restore power to Okarito.

    Water in both Fox Glacier and Arahura Pa must be boiled for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene for at least the next three days.

    A community meeting was held on Saturday in Haast, where an estimated 600 travellers, including bus-loads of tourists had been holed up, but are now able to move on.

    MetService is forecasting another period of rain and possible thunderstorms on Sunday.

    Mr Bastion says the civil defence team will be monitoring the situation closely.

    St Mary's School, Fox Glacier School and Haast School will be open as normal on Monday.

    A Westland District Council spokeswoman thanked hardworking volunteers who had demonstrated a huge amount of community spirit and resilience.

    "We have had people in Haast opening up their doors to strangers to house them and feed them over the last couple of days which is a great display of Westland hospitality," she said.

    The storm, remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi, combined with king tides caused widespread flooding in Nelson, Westland, Buller and Dunedin on Thursday.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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