Emergency Management Southland is currently responding to the Southland floods.

Update #37:  Farmers asked to report baleage issues

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Tuesday, 18 February at 12.15pm.

Otago and Southland Farmers are being asked by their Rural Support Trust and Emergency Management Southland to report any baleage they are unable to dispose of after the floods.

“We need to understand the extent of the issue so that we can help farmers find a solution to manage baleage disposal” says Cathie Cotter from Southern Rural Support Trust.  

Damaged baleage if left to rot may cause objectionable odours, and discharge leachate that would impact on waterways and pasture.

The 0508 BALEAGE (0508 225 324) number has been set up by Rural Support Trust and they ask that farmers provide them with:

  • Contact details of the farmer
  • Farm address
  • Number of bales
  • Where the bales are located on the farm eg. Close to roads/waters ways
  • How accessible they are
  • Condition of baleage e.g intact or not or wet or dry
  • Any other information they think is important.

Farmers can also email the details through to: rstruralrecovery@gmail.com

Update #36:  First Mayoral Relief Fund applications

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Tuesday, 18 February at 11.45am.

A total of 12 applications for emergency support from the Southland Mayoral Relief Fund have been received as of 1000hrs, Tuesday 18 February, and these are being considered.

The Southland Mayoral Relief Fund is open and available to help Southlanders impacted by the floods.  If a Southland resident, business or organisation has been impacted by the floods, and can’t get support anywhere else, they are able to apply. 

The fund provides assistance on a one-off basis for extraordinary circumstances, where real need can be shown.

Criteria for applications and further information on the fund, including information on how to apply, can be found at https://civildefencesouthland.govt.nz/mayoral-relief-fund/.

Please make sure you include all the requested information, which will help speed up your application.

Applications are being assessed as soon as they are received. Smaller claims are being dealt with daily and, if successful, payment is being made as soon as possible.  Larger claims are being reviewed by the Mayoral Forum and may take longer to process.


Update #35:  Transition notice to take effect

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Monday, 17 February at 3.30pm.

The state of emergency for Southland, including Fiordland, will end tomorrow, Tuesday 18 February, at 2.20pm and be replaced by a Transition Notice.

Emergency Management Southland controller Angus McKay said it was decided at a joint committee meeting this afternoon to move to a transition notice for a 28-day period. Members of all local councils were at the meeting.

“This is a vital step in starting the transition towards long-term recovery,” Mr McKay said.

“The transition notice allows us to continue with a coordinated Civil Defence response for Southland and provides for important ongoing resourcing.”

Four key areas would remain the focus of this transition period – coordinated management of the Milford Road with regards to safe access; ongoing support for people who have had buildings inundated by floodwaters; support for the rural community; and any required emergency works for key infrastructure, including stopbanks and roading.

At the meeting, the group also moved to appoint Ken Swinney as the Recovery Manager. He will start in this role next week, taking over from Angus McKay as the lead for this event.

Update #34 ‘No swim’ advisory lifted 

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Monday, 17 February at 1.30pm.

The all-clear has now been given for swimming and shellfish collection to resume on Oreti Beach and around the New River Estuary.

Water samples collected and analysed from the beach show that i levels are low. 

Last week large numbers of sea cucumbers and shellfish washed up on the beach as a result of freshwater from the floods mixing with the sea and reducing the waters salinity.

On Sunday, the bulk of the debris at Oreti Beach had been washed away or picked clean.

Water quality is monitored by Environment Southland weekly over the summer period from December to March. Results are available on the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website (www.lawa.org.nz)

Update #33 Emergency Management Southland keeping watch on weather

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Monday, 17 February at 1.30pm.

Emergency Management Southland is continuing to prepare for rain as a result of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Uesi. 

The system had been sitting off the coast of Australia and was likely to track towards the lower South Island on Sunday but appears to be losing its strength, Emergency Management Southland controller Bruce Halligan said. 

“It seems to be weakening. It will rain, but at this stage it appears that levels won’t cause significant problems for us. We will keep monitoring how things develop,” he said. 

“We’re still planning some contingencies and have been looking at temporary strengthening of stop banks in key locations.”


Update #32 Emergency Management Southland keeping watch on weather

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Thursday, 13 February at 5.00pm.

Emergency Management Southland is preparing for more rain as a result of Ex Tropical Cyclone Uesi.

The cyclone is currently sitting of the coast of Australia and likely to track towards the lower South Island on Sunday, Emergency Management Southland controller Bruce Halligan said.

“We have the state of emergency for Southland still in place and the team at the emergency coordination centre are watching and preparing should the rainfall predicted come through.”

The forecast is for rain with possibly heavy falls and northerly winds becoming strong. “With soil moisture levels already very high following the flooding last week, farmers in particular need to be prepared and keep a watch on their local waterways and stock.”

“While generally the stop bank network performed very well in the recent flood event, some localised, temporary strengthening is being undertaken in some key locations.”

 Update #31 People advised to not swim or collect shellfish 

Released by  Emergency Management Southland on Wednesday, 123 February at 3.00pm.

People are advised to stay out of the sea in the area around the Invercargill estuary, including Oreti Beach, for the next few days as floodwaters flush out of the river.

People should also avoid an area at the Dunns Road entrance to Oreti beach, where dead burrowing sea cucumbers and shellfish are lying.

The fresh water in the floodwaters are believed to have caused the burrowing sea cucumbers and shellfish deaths on the beach. Only one or two toheroa have been seen. People are advised not to eat any of the shellfish and not to harvest for others either.

Environment Southland staff have gone out to check out the beach and have only found the shellfish in one area.

“Staff are collecting samples for analysis, but in the meantime please stay out of the water, don’t harvest shellfish and avoid the area where the dead shellfish are.”