Debris Dam Causes Threat – Houses Evacuated

Written by on February 5, 2023

By John Freer

Ten properties on the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula remain empty after being evacuated due to potential landslides.

The properties are at Koputauaki Bay north of Coromandel, Ruamahunga Bay and Tapu on the Thames Coast.

Civil Defence controller Julian Snowball today told CFM all properties were at risk from potential slips, saying there was no damage to any of the properties, but the land around the houses was unsafe.

Work is being undertaken to determine what needs to happen to get people back into their homes.

Of major concern to Julian is a debris dam which has formed above Koputauaki which authorities believe could contain up to 10,000 cubic metres of water.

“It’s a threat to the people that live in the pathway of that water should it release,” Julian told CFM.

The assessment of the dam is just one part of the much wider investigation into land instability and potential risks.

Julian said GNS and Waikato Regional Council had used aircraft today to view areas, some of which had been reported by members of the public. GeoTech has also been involved in the process.

Julian said most of the known risk was on the west coast, but the correct response was to have the state of emergency apply to the entire Thames Coromandel region.

He said this would be reviewed and if appropriate, a recommendation could be considered and put to the mayor to amend the designated area – depending on information received.

Julian said this could be considered over the next 48 – hours.

Click on the link below to hear CFM’s interview with Julian.


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