Government To Assist Karamea Flood Damage Repairs

  • Jack Elder
Civil Defence

The Government has approved assistance of $115,000 towards repairing flood damage to the West Coast's Karamea River protection system, the Minister of Civil Defence, Jack Elder, announced today.

"This is a public safety issue," Mr Elder said. "The river protection systems must be reinstated as soon as possible otherwise the local township of Karamea may be at risk."

The Karamea River experienced three "20-year floods" over 25 days in October causing cumulative damage to river protection systems.

"There was no opportunity to repair damage between floods and this had the effect of exacerbating the damage," Mr Elder said. "Engineering reports say damage to stopbanks above the township and erosion of the Karamea river bank was considerable. I visited the area last week and it is clear the situation poses a significant risk to the safety of the school and the township."

Mr Elder said the provision of Government assistance to Karamea should not be seen as a precedent for other flood-damaged areas seeking financial help. In 1994 the Cabinet agreed that government assistance would be available only where there is major community disruption or continuing risk to life.

"Karamea is a small, isolated community and this year's floods have had a significant impact on the area," Mr Elder said. "The Government is committed to maintaining the character of these communities and is determined that they should not suffer too much by events beyond their control."