State of Emergency Declared for Coromandel
Written by John Grant on February 3, 2023
Thames Coromandel District Council Mayor Len Salt has today declared a state of emergency for the district.
The call comes after the region has become saturated by a storm front which has brought record amounts of rain over the past seven days. This rain event followed previous unprecedented weather events from November through into December and January.
Rainfall across the Coromandel Peninsula for January alone topped 1.5 metres – an amount which would not normally be achieved until June or July.
Massive slips which have taken out State Highway 25A indefinitely and caused the closure of both council roads and other state highways, continue to cause chaos for residents, holidaymakers and businesses.
Beside the immediate chaos is the uncertainty associated with unstable networks and infrastructure.
Waikato University Law Professor Al Gillespie said states of emergency give emergency services access to a range of options.
“It allows the people on the ground to do certain things like close off areas, direct people to do certain acts and even, if necessary, requisition private property for public safety.”
The powers granted also include the ability to provide rescue, first aid, food or shelter, or conserve essential supplies and regulate traffic and enter onto premises to rescue people or save lives.
States of emergency can be declared when there is an event that might cause loss of life or property, which cannot be dealt with by the normal emergency services.
A state of emergency was declared on 27 January to deal with the unprecedented flooding in Auckland.
TCDC Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler told CFM earlier this week that he had considered calling a state of emergency on no fewer than six occasions.
At that time he said the civil defence direction had changed from roading and infrastructure, to property. He made a plea that people check their properties for cracks or any unusual movement which may have caused things like doors not opening or sticking.
Garry said he was taking this approach due to the land saturation and subsequent instability.