Edgecumbe residents left desperate as volunteers dwindle

Hundreds of people who gave up their Easter to clean up flood damage in Edgecumbe were back at their regular jobs on Tuesday, leaving the town in need of more help.

The work's just beginning for many who couldn't start cleaning up until they knew whether their homes could be saved at all.

It's taken nearly two weeks for resident Dwayne McGuire to learn the fate of his family home.

Their house is dry, but the floor's rotted through. It will cost more to fix than the house is worth, and now insurance is all they have.

"They're just gonna pay us out. But we're still gonna be left with a house that's we can't do anything with."

Owners of 250 other yellow-stickered homes are waiting to learn if theirs can be saved or whether the damage is too great.

Fifteen are red-stickered. They're too unsafe and nothing can be done but bring them down.

Volunteer Rhys Mischefski says, "I came in on the weekend to help out and I was a bit shocked. I didn't realise how bad the floods actually were." 

Hundreds of volunteers gave up their Easter to clean-up the mess from a fortnight ago when the Rangitaaiki River burst its banks.

But Tuesday's turnout was a quarter of yesterday's and Edgecumbe's crying out for more helping hands.

Ruiahona Marae's being used as a base for those volunteers who have stayed behind.

Most eat and sleep there - a chance to recharge between clearing out the sodden belongings, which can't be saved from damaged homes.

Other forms of assistance are coming. The Government has put an extra $700,000 towards businesses affected by the flood.

But what they need most of all is people's time on a job that is still so far from done.