© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Whakatane residents stranded by floods

Brad Christensen
floods
Water spills in to Edgcumbe homes after the Rangitaiki River breached its stopbanks Louis Klaassen/Whakatane Beacon

It could be more than three days before stranded Whakatane residents can return to their homes.

Water is still flowing into Edgecumbe after the Rangitaiki River breached its stopbanks, causing severe flooding. 

A state of emergency remains in place while local emergency services scramble to keep the situation under control. 

Edgecumbe Chief Fire Officer Adrian Massey said recovery work could not begin until the water level resides. 

Evacuated residents were facing more than three days without their homes, said Massey.

"The majority of [the evacuated] people have gone in to Whakatane to the War Memorial Hall, where some others are staying with nearby friends and family."

Whakatane Deputy Mayor - Judy Turner on Edgcumbe Floods

Whakatane Deputy Mayor Judy Turner discusses the aftermath of the Rangitaiki River breaching a stopbank

Neighbouring communities of Taneatua, Ruatoki and Waimana have also been isolated by the floods. 

Deputy Mayor of Whakatane, Judy Turner said multiple agencies were swinging in to help those affected. 

"Red Cross are now running the main evacuation center in Whakatane and Work and Income will be operating today to offer help for those unable to return home through the weekend" said Turner.

Prime Minister Bill English said the extent of damage is becoming clear as flooding continued and water reached the windowsills of some houses. 

A state of emergency remains in place. 

Rangitaiki River floods Edgcumbe

Rangitaiki River floods Edgcumbe. Credit: ProduceMe Drone View