Finance

Napier Flood Review: New construction should be high and the city needs civil defense personnel.

Building new homes at least 1.5 meters from the ground and building a civil defense staff base in Napier are two of the suggestions from the Napier flood review.

Floods in Napier, November 9, 2020.

A car goes through floodwaters in Napier last November.
Image: RNZ / Tom Kitchen

Of Heavy rains last November Hundreds of properties were damaged.

About 10 months later, some people are still in temporary residence.

Local leaders met yesterday to discuss what could be improved.

On the morning and afternoon of November 9 last year, the rain in Napier was undoubtedly heavy, but no one seemed particularly upset.

Lisa Pierce, leader of the Hawks Bay Regional Council’s risk reduction team, said the first-season warning was not serious.

“Our first warning was received on November 8 and it was 9.30 am,” he said.

“He identified areas in the north of Napier with falls of 120 to 160 millimeters, but he was significantly saying that at this stage it would be within limits.”

The next day, the morning of the flood, the Met Service called the council and said rain could fall south of Napier – not in the city.

Pierce said the predictions were not unusual.

“From a general point of view, we get such alerts regularly at Hawke’s Bay, say 2 or 3 times a year, and so there was nothing about most of the staff at that time.”

By 4 p.m., with heavy and heavy rain in the city, forecasts still claimed that the rain would hit the mountains.

Within an hour, Pierce said people were running for evacuation.

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Slipped on Brewster Street in Napier during the flood.
Image: RNZ / Dom Thomas

“The majority of the evacuation was self-evacuation and it was really nice to see it from our point of view because it was an amazing event, and so there wasn’t much time to warn residents.”

Authorities at the Napier fire station were warned of rain at 10 a.m., but did not contact the area’s civil defense controller until late afternoon, when they saw it deteriorating outside.

111 call centers were swiftly overwhelmed, and a state of emergency was not declared until 8 p.m.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the absence of a civil defense team in Napier was a problem, and will remain so.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise.

Kirsten Wise
Image: RNZ / Dom Thomas

“As far as I know, it wasn’t even considered an option and it certainly made it more difficult, because they were located in Hastings.”

Craig Goodyear, leader of the regional council’s engineering team, said new homes were not damaged in the lowest parts of the city and where the rains were heaviest.

The reason was that the houses were built a little higher, and Godier suggested that this should be the case throughout the city.

“If we are talking about new housing, we should probably use a height of at least 1.5 and 2 meters,” he said.

Rick Barker, chairman of the Regional Council and Civil Defense Committee, said that although there were challenges, they would not play the blame game.

“The problem we have with reports like this is that there are people around who want to make hints and accusations, because humans have a passion for blood sports. But we will do our best to avoid that. Go ahead and be better prepared for the next one. “

173 people were evacuated from the floods, seven still living in Council Holiday Park.

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