The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #172154   Message #4168551
Posted By: Little Robyn
26-Mar-23 - 08:00 PM
Thread Name: BS: when you don't have electricity - NZ
Subject: RE: BS: when you don't have electricity - NZ
Finally got my cookie back so I can reply.
We were only without power for a couple of days but it was challenging. We have a landline as well as personal phones/computers/devices to communicate with but without power, none of them worked! I had a little old battery powered transistor radio and we had torches and candles so all we could do was sit in the dark and listen to the radio. We didn't really know what was going on - the stupid announcers kept telling us to ring them and they would let our families know we were all OK. If we could ring the radio, we could ring families but with the power station completely under water there was nothing. I don't know of anyone who had a working phone during the storm. Some people are still without power and some homes were totally destroyed. I have a little old camper van which has a gas cooker and solar power so I was able to cook simple meals and make cups of tea or coffee. Our neighbors had nothing so were very grateful when I took them a flask of hot water.
We were lucky, the only real damage was to our peach tree but when the power was turned back on we noticed the hot water tank slowly went cold and the refrigerator warmed up. The local electrician fixed the hot water but we had to buy a new fridge.
There were no petrol stations open for days - as they gradually opened the queues outside were crazy and with roads closed at crucial points, people couldn't get to work. Businesses couldn't open because staff couldn't get there and even the schools were closed for over a week. Our local High School let the juniors return but they didn't have enough teachers for the seniors until some of the roads opened up again.
The official death toll is still 11 but one man is still missing - he was driving north from Napier as the storm was starting and his truck was seen at a petrol station not far from where the big flood came bursting through at Eskdale - he might have been exactly there at that very moment and he would have been swept out to sea with all the mud and forestry slash. So far there is no trace of him or his truck.
The big problem now seems to be waiting for insurance or somebody to help with the cleanup - lots of volunteers but not much action from officials. Apparently insurance won't pay for fencing on farms and each fence post will cost $20 to replace - and farms have hundreds of fence posts.
Hawke's Bay was known as the 'Fruit bowl of New Zealand' but the mud, which included sewage, in some areas has destroyed crops - apples, grapes, corn, pumpkins, onions, tomatoes. If the flood touched any of the food, people were told not to eat it - just destroy it.
In Eskdale the water was up to the roof of some houses and when it subsided the sludge was drying out, up to 3,4 and even 5 foot high. Volunteers are still helping to dig it out. If it's left around the base of the apple trees, I believe it will slowly smother and kill them.
Much of the damage to stop banks and bridges was caused by 'slash' - a waste product from commercial forestry: it is detritus – anything from small branches to whole trees – from logged trees left behind that washed down with the rain and then joined the rivers that flow to the coast. Several bridges including a railway bridge at Clive were totally destroyed - there will be no trains between Napier and Hastings for a long time. Photos of the beaches from here to Gisborne show nothing but tree rubbish - no sand in sight.
It's going to be a long time before life returns to 'normal' - if it ever does.
Robyn in Hastings, NZ