Clean-up begins after Rotorua flooding

Crews are set to begin a massive clean up effort in Rotorua on Monday after torrential flooding left hundreds trapped.

Water levels around Ngongotaha Stream, which burst its banks on Sunday afternoon trapping around 200 people at the Agrodome, have receded.

A state of emergency was declared in the outer Rotorua suburb of Ngongotaha, on the western shore of Lake Rotorua, on Sunday night.

Mayor Steve Chadwick says at least 24 houses were flooded, but that number could rise.

She told The AM Show it's all "rather surreal" this morning.

"The rain certainly settled in the night but there's a lot of water around."

She says at least 24 houses were flooded, but that number could rise.

Ms Chadwick says the whole community has been amazing in the face of the storm.

"About 40 people from Ngongotaha have evacuated to welfare centres. Others seem to have self-evacuated which is fantastic, it shows their resilience to be ready.

"The marae said 'we'll open our doors', there's a welfare centre at the community hall and one in the inner city.

The mayor said the state of emergency in Ngongotaha's Western Road still stands, but that's not the only affected area.

"The rapid assessment team went out last night, and in the light of day we'll get out and look at the houses on the hill. There are several houses down in Western Rd that are substantially damaged.

"It's much wider spread around the districts too with slips, popping manholes, sewage. It broke further up in the hills and then just surged down into the Agrodome and then down into the Western Road. We've never seen flooding like this there."

Crews will be out assessing numerous roads on Monday morning, and will start a clean-up effort to remove debris at first light.

Rotorua Duck Tours driver Sean Russell says they used their six-wheeler vehicles to transport stranded locals from Ngongotaha Village to a nearby school.

"We have the ability to do our part, and not everybody does. We're just going to make the most of that and help these people out. It's an unfortunate situation but we can only do our best to help out.

"If we get to a forced evacuation we'll see how people are then, but at this stage people are just happy to be helped out." 

Cordons are in place at Western Rd, and evacuated households are being told to stay away while checks are carried out.


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