The rural clean-up has begun after the weekend storm which caused extensive flooding throughout Otago and Canterbury.
A recovery team including CDEM, Federated Farmers, MPI, DairyNZ, Beef + LambNZ, Fonterra and the Otago Rural Support Trust is coordinating farm support and information events as the floodwaters in Otago start to recede.
“While farmers in on the Taieri are used to flooding, the intensity of the deluge on already sodden land has left a few farms at least half underwater,” says Otago farmer and Rural Support Trust Trustee Mike Lord.
The first priority in such an event is always the safety and wellbeing of people.
“We’re a pretty connected community here,” says Mike, “and in a flood like this we all tend to knock on doors, check on each other and help out our neighbours. It’s a good idea to check in especially on the elderly lady down the road, as it has to be pretty bad before some of these people will ask for help!”
Federated Farmers has activated their helpline for both members and non-members, and are encouraging any farmers who can offer immediate grazing to get in touch. There have been more than 20 calls over the weekend, with some offers of feed and several urgent grazing requests. Farmers are encouraged to log their needs including cleanup.
“Flood affected farmers looking for help should contact Federated Farmers’ 0800 327 646 helpline, which is a primary source of contact for farmers who want to request or offer assistance,” says Federated Farmers’ Adverse Events Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard.
“This is a tried and tested resource, operated by people who understand farmers and farming.”
“We’re also working with the Local Rural Support Trust. Those feeling stressed or getting overwhelmed should contact them on 0800 RURAL HELP. It’s free and confidential,” says Andrew.
DairyNZ and Fonterra have been in contact with farmers throughout the weekend and are assisting with stock movement and milk transport where needed.
“Fortunately its early days for calving and lambing,” says MPI Animal Welfare lead Wayne Ricketts. “Maintaining feed to those animals late in pregnancy has to be a priority to prevent metabolic conditions such as milk fever, staggers or sleepy sickness.
“Farmers and agri-business organisations are working well together. MPI’s animal welfare line has only received one call about animals in floodwaters, and is open should farmers want to seek additional advice.”
A series of information events are also being set up for this week and farmers are encouraged to take an hour and come along.
- Henley Hall, 12.30pm today (Tuesday 25th)
- White Horse Inn, Milton, 12.30pm today (Tuesday 25th)
- Clutha Vets, Balclutha, 12.30pm Wednesday 26th
· If life or property is at risk - call 111
· Please call Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) for requests for feed
· Farmers who can OFFER feed or grazing are asked to call Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING).