More government support for Southland flood clean-up

The Government is ramping up support for those hit by the Southland floods with $100,000 going to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

It follows a $100,000 grant to the Rural Support Trust, as receding waters started to reveal the full extent of the damage to returning residents.

Chest-high floodwaters forced Luke Howden and his partner to abandon their Gore home in the floods.

Their street was still being pumped out on Thursday and nature's force is evident.

"We've got chairs that have floated out by the street front, and the mark on the walls where it's been, knee-high. It's pretty striking," said evacuated Gore resident, Luke Howden. 

Down the road in Mataura, it was a welcome return home for around 1500 residents and their pets.

The sight was a shock for many.

"Just to see the rubbish and the cat was here, fortunately. That was my biggest concern," said Steve Kaire-Smales, Mataura resident. 

Some streets are still looking more like lakes and are surrounded by sodden homes.

"I thought the front yard was bad but I had a look in the back yard and I wouldn't even want to go out there without waders on," said Shane Holloway, Mataura resident. 

"We were getting a bit desperate to get back, but not to see this," said Owen Rogers, Maraura resident.

Multiple pumps were working at full strength to try and dry out the streets and flooded sections as quickly as possible.

Some houses are still without power or in an unsanitary condition, so not all returning residents can stay. 

Sunny weather is helping dry things out as locals get stuck into the cleanup

There was a large working bee turning out to assist at Mataura School.

"We've definitely got wet walls and wet framing and floors. Three classrooms are immediately having to have the carpet pulled up," said Susan Dennison, Maraura School Principal. 

The Government promises more support towards the clean up in the weeks to come.

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