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Update from Hawkes Bay Emergency Management Group

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Hawkes Bay Emergency Management has contingency plans in place for alerting and evacuating people if the forecast heavy rain late tomorrow and Saturday causes flooding that will threaten lives or property.

Controller Ian Macdonald said the Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s hydrologists had assessed the expected impacts of the rainfall. “As of this afternoon, they were comfortable that the major rivers would remain within their existing channels, but we are not taking any chances,” he said.

“Although we take confidence from the advice we are receiving, we are planning for all eventualities. That includes contingency plans for evacuations.”

Trigger points are being set for alerting at-risk residents and ordering evacuations. Civil Defence will issue an emergency mobile alert to any areas that may need to be evacuated. Evacuation orders will also be issued over radio and all broadcast and online media, Mr Macdonald said.

He stressed that people did not need to wait for an official order to evacuate, and should move early if they did not feel safe at home.

Emergency repairs to stopbanks damaged last week are underway and some have been completed. The remote monitoring network for river levels is being augmented with people on the ground who will be monitoring critical areas in person from tomorrow, including overnight.

“The Emergency Coordination Centre remains fully operational and so do our civil defence centres where people can go if they need to evacuate and can’t stay with whanau or family. The list of centres and community hubs that are currently open is included with this release.

“We know this will be an anxious time for everyone who was affected by Cyclone Gabrielle,” Mr Macdonald said. Our advice at this early stage is simple:
1. Keep up with the weather forecasts from MetService
2. Listen to advice from the Regional Council about river levels, particularly if you live in a floodplain
3. Talk to the others in your household and make a plan for what you will do if the rain causes flooding.
1. Pack a grab-bag with clothes, medical supplies and things that are special for you
2. Make a plan for your pets too
3. If you feel unsafe at home, do not wait for an official warning to evacuate
4. It’s best to go to whanau or friends, but our civil defence centres are open for those who need them.
5. Plan ahead so that once the heavy rain begins you can avoid unnecessary travel.

24 February 2023

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