Napier Mayor on relief fund: ‘$100,000 will go pretty quickly’

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Napier’s mayor expects the government’s financial contribution to support those worst hit by flooding will get used up quickly.

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Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

More than 100 homes have been deemed uninhabitable and over 200 people are in emergency accommodation – with that number expected to grow in the coming days – after torrential rain smashed the area a week ago.

Applications to access $100,000 in funding provided by the government to the Mayoral Disaster Relief Fund open today.

Mayor Kirsten Wise said that would get blown through pretty quickly.

“It is a starting point as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

“I’ve already indicated to the [Minister of Emergency Management] that this is an ongoing conversation and we will definitely be going back to [her] to seek further funding.

“Because I’m sure that $100,000 will go pretty quickly.”

She said the first people to get the money would be those who have no other avenues for support to ensure they have food, clothing and a roof over their head.

Napier flood - Marewa suburb

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Community organisations which have provided huge amounts of support would also be at the top of the queue.

“And how we can now assist them now from a financial perspective to not only recompense them for the work they’ve already done but ensure that they can continue to provide the support that they’ve been doing over the last week.”

Wise said irrespective of who paid, the worst affected families would be looked after.

She said she and officials are meeting on Tuesday with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, which is the lead agency finding homes for those in emergency accommodation.

She said it has been amazing to see the community rallying around to support each other, and then help each other with the huge cleanup task.

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Onekawa School reopens

Backbreaking work clearing more than 10 tonnes of soil, bark and other organic material from the grounds of the flooded Henry Hill School in Onekawa has paid off as pupils are welcomed back today.

Half the classrooms were partially submerged in the flood, and when other schools in the city reopened on Thursday, staff at Harry Hill were teaching remotely and scrambling to make the classrooms useable.

Principal Jason Williams said they removed flood debris in just one-and-a-half days, while carpets, cladding and gib has been taken out of damaged rooms.

Six of the school’s 12 classrooms are still unuseable so space in the school hall has been set up for classes.

A number of the students’ families have lost homes and are displaced, he Williams said. The day would start with karakia, and the school has yoga sessions in the mornings as well to help calm students.

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