Edgecumbe residents mark two-year flood anniversary with book

It's hard to forget the day the swollen Rangitaiki River broke through Edgecumbe's stopbank, forcing around 1600 hundred residents to flee their homes.

Most will only remember the pictures of the flood waters swallowing up the small town.

Writer and resident Ashlee Sturme told Newshub underneath the surface are the stories of those who suffered.

"We don't want the stories to be forgotten. There's a lot of really important information that we can learn from."

Two years on, Sturme is helping to collate that information for a book about that day in April 2017.

The tales of up to 45 residents, rescuers and volunteers are splashed across each page.

"People are still really hurt, they're upset, they're really angry."

The book starts on the day the flood hit and explores the recovery and rebuild.

The aftermath for most was more traumatising than the day they were forced from their homes.

"I've heard people say they'd rather go through three floods before going though that aftermath again. It wasn't the flood or the clean-up, it was the stress that came from it," said Sturme.

Jane and Ray Brown have been battling insurers and builders ever since their home was drowned in thigh-deep water.

"The ceiling was still sagging, the lino on the floors weren't sealed. The laundry, the bathroom, they were leaking" said Ray.

The stress from the rebuild even started to affect Jane's health.

"I did get sick and end up in hospital".

It's taken a huge toll on the couple, who estimate they've been left $37,000 out of pocket.

But Jane says taking part in the book has helped with the healing process.

"You don't know what other people are putting up with sometimes, and if it takes a disaster to bring people together then that's what happens."

The Day the Wall Broke will be officially released Saturday.


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