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NZ South Island hit by flooding, recovery to take time

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says the recovery process after severe South Island flooding on the weekend may take some time, as assessors wait for affected areas to become accessible.

Parts of the West Coast and Marlborough areas received rainfall of 400mm in 24 hours after the MetService on Friday declared a red warning for the region.

The Buller and Orowaiti rivers topped their banks sending water surging through the town of Westport, causing hundreds of people to evacuate to emergency centres, Radio New Zealand reported.

“It won’t be until the areas are fully accessible over the course of the week before insurers’ assessors will be able to get to the affected places to review the damage and what’s needed for the recovery,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said today.

“Clearing silt, drying out houses, getting resources and tradespeople into the region to undertake repairs will all take time and insurers will do everything they can to help their customers as quickly as possible.”

ICNZ says insurers have been supporting customers since the red weather warning was issued and that private insurers are now also managing Earthquake Commission cover claims on behalf of the government-owned authority.

“This includes some damage to residential land within 8 metres of the house caused by flooding or landslips, or damage to residential properties caused by landslips,” he said.

The New Zealand Government has committed $NZ600,000 ($561,579) in recovery assistance, including support to communities and farmers and growers.

“While it is too early to know the full cost of the damage, we expect it to be significant and this contribution will help communities to start to get back on their feet,” Emergency Management Acting Minister Kris Faafoi said.