Napier flooding: 16 homes deemed uninhabitable, residents evacuated

At least 16 homes in Napier have been deemed uninhabitable, while those in their homes may face another night in the dark, after a monster deluge struck the Hawke’s Bay last night.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand area manager Ken Cooper said 106 Napier properties had been assessed, and residents evacuated from those deemed uninhabitable.

“Teams continue to move through Napier’s impacted areas this afternoon – Napier Hill and the suburbs of Maraenui, Marewa and Pirimai. Damage to structures range from minor to, in some cases, severe,” he said.

Some residents could face another night in the dark, as crews from lines company Unison push to restore power to the 840 homes waiting desperately to reconnect as of midday today.

The monster rainfall dumped 463 per cent of Napier’s monthly rainfall over the city in just a few hours.

Just how much the damage will cost insurance companies is yet to be seen. AA Insurance says it has already handled around 100 home claims and 50 motor claims.

Dramatic stories of survival have emerged following the deluge. One woman was left bruised and shaken but alive after her partner pulled her out of neck-high mud.

Paul Matthews, of Main St, said he pulled his partner free from wreckage after the back of their house was “destroyed” during a slip about 6.30pm yesterday.

Matthews said his street was like a “river” during the torrential downpour, and his house was filled with mud.

Another neighbour, who wished not to be named, said a number of locals rushed to the aid of the buried woman.

“A loud bang was heard, than an old tree came down. All the neighbours rushed to help and found the woman up to her neck in mud.”

Meanwhile, Hospital Hill resident Chris Dale is living on the edge – literally.

A tennis-court size chunk of his backyard disappeared in a slip yesterday evening, Hawke’s Bay Today said.

Built in 1929, the two-storey bungalow that survived the 1931 Napier earthquake was left dangerously close to the edge of a large, muddy bank.

Mayor Kirsten Wise said today in an update that it was uncertain how long the state of emergency would remain in place.

“A part of that is we don’t know with complete confidence what tonight may bring. We’ll be reviewing that on a daily basis.”

There has been widespread flooding, slips and evacuations after 100mm of rain fell between 12pm and 8pm last night.

Multiple agencies continue to assess damage this afternoon, including Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency’s Urban Search and Rescue, Red Cross and Napier City Council.

Some schools that closed today are getting ready to reopen tomorrow, including Porritt Primary and Tamatea Primary, according to Facebook announcements.

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