A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter flew from Woodbourne to Motueka this morning to help civilians stranded in Golden Bay after heavy rain brought by ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita.
21 February 2018
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are transporting welfare teams to help civilians stranded in Golden Bay today after heavy rain brought by ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita caused massive flooding overnight in several communities in the South Island.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said airlift support was being provided today to the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management in response to the storm.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter flew from Woodbourne to Motueka this morning, Major General Gall said.
In addition to taking welfare teams to Golden Bay, it would also transport police and equipment to Takaka after slips cut access to those areas and would conduct an aerial survey of storm-hit areas, he said.
The helicopter’s first task this morning was to fly to Takaka Hill after reports that up to 11 people were trapped by massive slips and might need to be evacuated. However, it found no one needing immediate evacuation.
Overnight, NZDF personnel helped Motueka residents escape fast-rising floodwater and helped police clear roads in Takaka, Major General Gall said.
The NZDF had been working since last Friday with all regional emergency operations centres in areas forecast to be affected by the storm, he said.
“We have been working with Civil Defence authorities in areas affected by the storm and will continue to support them as required.”
Three personnel and two trucks are on standby to help in New Plymouth, while members of the 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion continue to monitor the situation on the West Coast and Canterbury.