Whakatane District Emergency Management has declared a state of emergency for the region.
Heavy rainfall over the past 48 hours has resulted in flooding across the district, and there is the continued threat of stopbanks being breached by the Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers.
While the rainfall has stopped, an evacuation of the Edgecumbe township is taking place due to high river levels on the Rangitaiki River.
They are located at: Firmin Lodge, Kawerau; and the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall. Anyone who requires urgent assistance is advised to ring emergency services on 111. Police and Fire Service personnel are in the area and will arrange transportation.
"We are asking anyone who evacuates their home to check in with a Civil Defence Centre, either arriving in person, or by calling Whakatane District Council on 306 0500.
"People are reminded to take necessary medications with them and advise officials of any chronic or acute health needs."
Aerial footage of flooding in Whakatane today.
• Whakatane District Council Facebook: www.facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil
• Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Civil Defence Facebook: www.facebook.com/bopcivildefence
• Bay of Plenty Regional Council Facebook: www.facebook.com/boprc
• IXX FM: 90.5FM
Edgecumbe has some 500-600 households and a population of about 1600 people.
The rural area around Titoki Road to the west of Whakatane has also been evacuated due to the overtopping of a floodbank on the Whakatane River.
Again residents are asked to stay with family or friends, or report to the welfare centre in Whakatane.
The Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers are at historically high flood levels and river flows are unlikely to subside sufficiently to allow access to cut-off areas in Taneatua, Ruatoki and Waimana, and the evacuated areas, for some time. Evacuees may need to be out of their homes for up to 72 hours.
Key additional messages:
• To report road closures, slips, stormwater and sewerage problems dial the Council on 3060500
• To find the location of welfare centres dial the Council on 3060500 or go on the Council’s website at www.whakatane.govt.nz or Facebook page Facebook.com/whakatanedistrictcouncil
A further media advisory with further information about flooding impacts will be released shortly.