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Council urges rural communities to review winter preparedness plans post-cyclone

rural roads

With winter on the doorstep, Hastings District Council is urging rural communities to make reviewing their winter resilience plans a top priority.

Hastings deputy mayor and rural ward councillor Tania Kerr says whilst enormous efforts have gone into reconnecting communities cut off as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, the district’s land transport network remains vulnerable, particularly during moderate to heavy rain events.

“Having been faced with a scale of damage not seen here in more than 100 years, the rebuilding of all of our roads and bridges will take months and years.”

Farmers are inherently proactive and well versed at preparing for the challenges of winter, but Council is acutely aware of the added levels of pressure and stress this year for the many impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Mrs Kerr said work is continuing with communities on how Council can support rural resilience through the winter months, but understands the best layer of protection will be people having their own robust personal winter plans.

“These will look different from one household to the next so it’s important they are self-led.

“It’s a case of looking at what we need to sustain our families for up to five days, and ensuring we have risk management plans in place for our farming operations.”

As part of winter resilience planning, rural families and businesses should:

  • ensure they have enough non-perishable food items, household goods and necessary medication for the family for up to five days
  • ensure all stock movements scheduled during winter have a plan B and even C in the event that a truck is unable to access the property as planned
  • for dairy operations, have plans in place in case a milk tanker is unable to access the property
  • phone Hastings District Council on 068715000 (24hrs) to report any new roading issues.

Council has made restoring access to rural communities a key priority right throughout its response effort and this will continue through winter.

“Our rural communities can be assured that in any instance of lost access we will work swiftly to restore this but there will be instances where, as proved by the devastation wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle, this cannot happen as fast as we would like,” said Mrs Kerr.

13 April 2023

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