The Porirua com­mu­nity steps up - again

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

Nerves were al­ready frayed af­ter the earth­quake on Novem­ber 14 - and then the floods came.

Porirua is used to flood­ing - it’s be­com­ing en­demic in the city. This time, the north was slammed, whereas in the past, streets in Ti­tahi Bay or Can­nons Creek have be­come rivers.

Is the rain­fall get­ting heav­ier and harder, and more fre­quent, or is the city’s stormwa­ter net­work badly lack­ing?

We know work is be­ing done to up­grade the aged pipes and fair dues must be given to Porirua City Coun­cil, who know full well what is re­quired to com­bat the del­uges we get at least an­nu­ally.

Coun­cil, Wellington Re­gion Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice, emer­gency ser­vices, and con­tract­ing staff were su­perb.

Yes, we faced de­lays on a mas­sive scale get­ting home on Tues­day - and fur­ther into the week if you lived in Whitby or over the Hay­wards - but the way the flood­ing was dealt with was pro­fes­sional.

What was also out­stand­ing was, once again, the com­mu­nity re­sponse to neigh­bours, schools and busi­nesses in peril.

More than once last week did we wit­ness food be­ing de­liv­ered and vol­un­teers show­ing up unan­nounced to help fight the ris­ing flood­wa­ters, slips and mud. Sleeves were rolled up and gum­boots pulled on to get stuck in.

As hap­pened in past flood events, homes and marae were opened as Porirua peo­ple came to the res­cue.

Whitby home­own­ers Bernie and Cheryl Whe­lan had vol­un­teers turn up to of­fer what help they could fol­low­ing a slip that threat­ened their house.

Their Lon­don-based daugh­ter posted on so­cial media about her par­ents’ plight, and out came the helpers.

So­cial media, in fact, plays a vi­tal part dur­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters these days. A group of Porirua City coun­cil­lors, mayor Mike Tana, WREMOand NZ Trans­port Agency were the go-to on Twit­ter and Face­book, while media played an im­por­tant part in dis­sem­i­nat­ing it all.

Tana has called for a more co­or­di­nated re­sponse in the next emer­gency and he’s spot on.

At the mo­ment, res­i­dents can go to a num­ber of places to find out about im­pass­able roads, schools be­ing shut and other vi­tal in­tel­li­gence. A sin­gle Face­book page or Twit­ter ac­count would make life eas­ier.

Mean­while, the sit­u­a­tion at Porirua School needs ur­gent ad­dress­ing. Not in the long-term, but very soon. Vanessa Hendry was the pic­ture of frus­tra­tion as her school was flooded twice in a week.

Porirua City Coun­cil and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has flagged that a work­ing group will dis­cuss a so­lu­tion.

The coun­cil must act to en­sure proper drainage of Awarua St and other roads nearby, while the Min­istry needs to do much more to pro­tect its as­set.

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