Flooding in rural Otago

as at 24 October 2017

Published on Saturday, July 22, 2017

Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) ready to help with Spring cleanup

ETFG is a temporary employment programme funded by the Ministry of Social Development to help landowners recover from adverse events like the July floods. This funding means farmers within Dunedin City can receive cleanup assistance free of charge.

ETFG provides for the employment of workers, supervisors and associated costs to assist farmers with cleanup of flood related debris and damage on-farm. ETFG assistance can include cleanup of debris, including clearing debris off and around fences, clearing of tracks and areas of slips and the clearing of branches and spoiled baleage. Members of the ETFG also have fencing experience and can assist with fencing, particularly if farmers have the necessary equipment on-site. This cleanup assistance does not include heavy machinery (for example, diggers or crushers).

To register for assistance through ETFG, please call 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING), then select the Flood Event Assistance option (option 2).  The call will then be diverted to someone who will record the details and pass these on to the ETFG coordinator. While this number is the 0800 number for Federated Farmers, you do not need to be a Federated Farmers member to access ETFG.  

ETFG will be running for a 7 week period, from 25th October to 13th December, although this can be extended if demand is sufficient.

 

Useful contacts for rural people affected by flooding:

 

What does a medium-scale event classification mean?

On August 1, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy classified the Otago floods as a medium-scale event for Dunedin City, Clutha District, Waitaki District and Central Otago District.

This classification triggers funding to assist with recovery for rural communities impacted by the flooding. The total funding package of $800,000 is comprised of:

1. Funding of up to $500,000 allocated to Enhanced Taskforce Green to assist with cleanup both on farms and in urban areas. This is run by MSD.

2. A donation of $50,000 to the Dunedin Mayoral Fund, targeted at assisting people who cannot receive assistance through other avenues, such as insurance.

3. Funding specifically earmarked for supporting the primary sector’s recovery from the floods.

What is the funding earmarked for primary sector recovery being used for?

The funding (up to $250,000 for primary industries) will support the following activities:

  • Funding for a recovery coordinator – resourcing to coordinate recovery activities and information around the various organisations offering assistance and support.  (To date this role has been filled by David Cooper from Federated Farmers)
  • Facilitating advice for farm recovery planning – funding the provision of technical extension advice by industry groups in group settings, and one-on-one advice for a number of farmers, with an emphasis on feed budgeting, farm management and animal health after flooding.
  • Organising and supporting farmer social events – The aim of rural social events is to get people off the farm, and these events will often be used as an opportunity to provide technical extension advice to farmers.
  • Some privately organised events which are open to the rural and farming community and focussed on social support will be supported through this funding avenue. Details of these events will be compiled, updated and distributed.
  • Contracting farm recovery activities - MPI is contracting a number of parties including the Otago Rural Support Trust to provide the above recovery activities to farmers. The Trust will provide one-one-one support to anyone who is brought to their attention as needing welfare support.

Independently, the Otago Rural Support Trust has offered to provide a contribution towards professional feed budgeting advice for those who do not already have access to this service. The Trust is also providing access to mental health support if needed (Contact the Chair Gavan Herlihy via 0800 787 254).

What other activities are underway?

A component of this funding, particularly employment of a rural recovery coordinator, is aimed at integrating the work of the industry bodies (DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Beef+Lamb NZ and processors) with the work of Councils (through their civil defence recovery managers), MPI and others.

The overall primary sector response has included:

1. Federated Farmers is coordinating requests for help and offers of assistance. The number to contact is the same as for feed 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING), press for option 2. This includes providing a service for farmers who:

a. Are in need of, or have surplus feed or grazing.

b. Are in need of assistance for farm cleanup.

2. DairyNZ has a ‘flood webpage’ farm planning advice aimed at recovery from flooding (on the DairyNZ website).

3. DairyNZ is running a farm visit programme, mainly in the Taieri area, though also targeted in other flood areas to:

a. Give farmers information on the Rural Support Trust service; feed planning; and other support available.

b. Create a list of farmers who need/are seeking assistance for on-farm cleanup.

4. Beef&Lamb NZ has a ‘flood webpage’ with farm planning advice aimed at recovery from flooding (on the Beef&Lamb NZ website).

5. Beef&Lamb has developed Health and Safety checklists to ease the pressure on farmers getting volunteers on-farm. This is a similar template to those used in the Kaikoura Earthquake, checked and approved by Worksafe.

6. Industry bodies are working together to develop flood-specific farm decision-making advice. This includes DairyNZ guidance to assist farmers in establishing whether baleage is safe for use.

Your property

  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation systems. Which stock water troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts and fences. What clearing away of flood debris is needed?
  • Assess damage to pastures, the depth and type of silt.
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other undamaged feed reserves.
  • Accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.

Animal welfare

  • Stock that is particularly vulnerable – cows calving; ewes lambing; young stock - should be shifted to an area which is more accessible in case they need assistance, supplementary feed or veterinary treatment.
  • Pregnant animals closer to giving birth are at a higher risk of metabolic diseases such as sleepy sickness, milk fever or staggers. They need to get access to feed as soon as possible if flooding has prevented access to feed.
  • If you have insufficient supplementary feed contact Federated Farmers Helpline 0800 FARMING.
  • If you need assistance please contact MPI Animal Welfare 0800 00 83 33
  • More detail on animal welfare is here
  • Refer to Dairy NZ for dairy farming advice www.dairynz.co.nz/farm/adverse-events/flood/

Boil water notices

Bring water to a rapid boil for at least one minute to make it safe to drink. Dairy farms which don’t use water heated above 70degC for plant and silo CIP need to follow instructions from your dairy company or your risk management procedures for dealing with non-compliant water (including boil water notices.

Otherwise, MPI recommends that farms use Sodium Hypochlorite (such as Ecolab XY12, FIL Grade Right, or other hypochlorite approved for farm dairies) in the final rinse at 5mls per 100 litres of water with the plant drained after rinsing; the same regime that farmers on water exclusion follow.

ORC compliance

The ORC has noted that affected farmers won’t be able to comply with some ORC rules while dealing with the aftermath of the flooding, and that farmers’ welfare and also their livestock’s welfare are the priorities right now.

Civil Defence payments

MSD has activated Civil Defence payments for people in areas that declared a state of emergency. More detail here: www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/civil-defence-payment.html

General Insurance advice

  • Safety first - please don't venture out to assess damage until it is safe to do so.
  • Lodge your claim as soon as you can, even though you may not have all the information.
  • Take notes and photos of all damage.
  • Talk with your insurer during the call about temporary accommodation support if needed.
  • Carry out emergency repairs such as making buildings safe and weatherproof. Take photos of any damage you’re repairing to add to your insurance claim.
  • Call your insurer before carrying out non-essential repairs.
  • If you need to throw items out, such as perished food, please take photos first.

There's help at hand

Take good care of yourself. Recovering from a flood is a big job. Learn how to recognise and care for anxiety, stress and fatigue. Call your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 if you are concerned about someone's stress levels or mental wellbeing.

Photo courtesy of Otago Regional Council.

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Author: Terri Anderson

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