A Tauranga refuge for homeless women in need and their children has been devastated by a flash flood that swept through the property overnight.
A wall of water struck the ground floor of The Haven of Grace refuge on Cameron Road during heavy rain on Monday night destroying thousands of dollars worth of furniture and personal items.
The flooding struck at the worst possible time with the refuge preparing to move from the premises today most of the residents’ possessions were packed in boxes on the ground floor ready to be moved.
The downstairs area consisting of an office, three bedrooms and a kitchen was flooded up to a metre high.
When SunLive visited the premises this morning the ground floor was a mess of destroyed boxes, dirtied clothing and debris brought inside by the flood waters.
The Haven of Grace director Casey says the four women staying at the refuge last night have lost most of the few possessions they had.
“People who have hardly anything have lost what little they have,” says director Casey Fredericks.
Today Casey and four girls are trying to clear the flooded garage.
“We need more muscle,” says Casey.
“Every time we pick up a box, it just crumbles.”
Blocked drains on Cameron Road are thought to have been the cause of the flood, which sent a wall of water down to the corner section, bursting through the roller door into the basement garage.
The ground floor of the refuge was flooded up to a metre high.
“It came down so hard it pushed the door in,” says manager Vicki McNamara.
She opened the kitchen door to have a look, and the water rushed in like a tidal wave.
“I opened the door and there was all that water...that’s what it was like.
“I made sure I got the girls upstairs, but then I heard the cat crying.”
The cat was stranded on the couch in the office surrounded by water. Vicki waded through and removed the cat from the flooded ground floor.
Today the refuge is looking for a mini skip to dispose of the destroyed furniture and bedding, and then Casey says they will be looking for replacements for the appliances.
“We don’t know what works and what doesn’t work at this stage,” says Casey.
“If it had happened tonight we wouldn’t have been home.”
The plan was to move out all the packed up belongings today, clean the house tomorrow for an inspection on Thursday.
Among the losses in the flood are the new identifications obtained through copies of birth certificates the Haven of Grace had paid for.
But while they are dealing with the aftermath of the flood and deciding how to go about the massive clean-up, the referrals keep on coming.
Casey says she received two while on her way to the house this morning – a woman homeless and sleeping rough in the same weather last night, and another forced to sleep in her car.
Offers of help can be made to their facebook page, the Haven of Grace open group 239 members. http://www.facebook.com/groups/161220459740/.
Water floods the ground floor of the refuge on Cameron Road.
Most of the property in the refuge is destroyed.
A flash flood pushed in the roller door to the ground level of the refuge.
The carpet in the refuge is soaked through.