Many Ashburton homeowners and road workers are spending the holiday weekend repairing damage caused by the Canterbury floods.
Photo: Pool / Stuff / Chris Skelton
Since last Saturday, when up to 400 mm of rain poured in just a few days, the area, along with Selwyn and Waimakariri, has been declared an emergency.
Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown stated that restoration work has been ongoing since the storm waters retreated on Tuesday and would not be slowed during the holiday weekend.
Contract employees are foregoing their weekend in order to get roadways in waterlogged areas open as soon as possible, he added.
Brown predicted that some rural communities will have to clean up for weeks, if not months.
Environment Canterbury river engineers are monitoring water flows, according to Emergency Management Controller Don Chittock.
He said there are no concerns about extra rain so far.
Chittock wanted to reassure the public that teams were working to clear debris around key pieces of infrastructure including roads and stopbanks.
The state of emergency will be in place until Thursday, he said.
Farmers at flood’s ground zero say big job ahead
Chris and Anne-Marie Allen own Anna Dale Farm at Ashburton Forks which was severely damaged by the flood.
Photo: Chris and Anne-Marie Allen
Anne-Marie Allen told Jim Mora that the damage is considerable.
“Our property is 360 hectares and of that 100 hectares has been under water and washed away if you like – every fence, every stock water trough, electric fences.”
She said irrigation systems were also damaged when the heavy rain struck.
Ashburton Forks is called that because there are three rivers which come in together and two of them join half way up their property, Allen said.
She got most of the stock off the flooded side of the property, but it was difficult to move everything in such a short period of time.
Allen said volunteers have been helping with the clean-up all week, including Lincoln University students, Lions club members, colleagues and workmates, and today a busload of people from the Christchurch Tramping Club will be helping out.
Allen said some of the silt and rock in places is more than a foot deep, so the fences need to be hauled out of that. It is still too wet and boggy to bring in a tractor to help with repairs.
She said they have had fantastic support with people providing food to feed the volunteers.
Photo: Anne-Marie Allen
Insurer AIA offers flood victims premium reprieve
The insurance firm AIA is providing seven weeks of premium assistance to policyholders affected by the Canterbury flooding.
It states that the offer is only available to persons who live or work in the severely impacted districts of Kaikura, Hurunui, Waimakariri, Selwyn, Ashburton, Timaru, Mackenzie, and Waimate.
Sharron Botica, chief customer officer of AIA New Zealand, said she hopes it relieves some of the burden and allows individuals to focus on their rehabilitation.
Customers will retain full insurance coverage and will be able to file claims during the relief period, which runs from Tuesday through the end of July.