Nearly two weeks on from Cyclone Gabrielle a Hawke's Bay farmer says without access and power, his cut-off community is treading water.
In the isolated settlement of Rissington north west of Napier, meals and fuel for locals without access and power are still being ferried across the Mangaone River by boat or with a flying-fox pulley system.
Rissington Station farmer Jeremy Absolom said a temporary river crossing for vehicles had to be dismantled on Friday due to the heavy rain over the weekend and a bailey bridge could be several weeks away still.
Without access and power the isolated community of about three thousand remained in limbo, he said.
"We're moving across food and fuel and any sort of medical supplies that people need ... but that sort of just keeps us treading water."
Absolom said in a meeting on Friday with farming leaders and the Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri he stressed the importance of restoring access to the area.
"That will allow things like stock to be moved from A to B, it'll allow feed to be moved in, people to be moved out."
There were "mountains" of silt that required large machinery to be moved, as well as a massive amount of fencing repairs that needed to be done, but at the moment that work was stalled.
"[There's] lots of help being offered ... groups of farmers offering to come in with fencing gear and, and just smash and work out.
"But to look after those people and not put pressure on the other side of the river we need to wait for power and access to be restored."
This morning the saleyards in Hastings will re-open for the first time since Cyclone Gabrielle.
Redshaw Livestock manager Dean Freeman said they expected much smaller numbers of stock through the yards this week, with estimates much as of their usual business could be stuck behind broken roads.
Being able to sell stock or send them to the meatworks was critical for farmer's cashflow, Freeman said.
"Cash flow is very relevant to farmers and costs have never been higher coming off the back of Covid issues and whatever else is going on in the world at the moment."
"It will be autumn officially from this week, so the clock will be ticking to try and get that [infrastructure] in place, some start moving some stock out."
At rural supplies store Farmlands in Napier, business manager Scott Ross said it had become clear from those walking through the door that the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on Hawke's Bay farmers and growers had been unprecedented.
Ross said they had sold thousand of temporary fencing standards to farmers needing to do urgent repairs.
"The main thing is fencing to keep stock secure," he said.
Last week the government announced a $25 million fund to support farmers and growers with urgent repairs.
Since applications opened on Wednesday afternoon more then 1200 applications had been received.
The Ministry for Primary Industries said as of Sunday morning it had approved nearly 390 grants, with payments so far totalling $5 million.
The ministry said a team had been working over the weekend, assessing applications and contacting applicants where details need to be clarified.
"We'd like to remind applicants to check that they are providing all the required information, including bank account numbers, address, trading name and business number where appropriate."
Advice from the National Emergency Management Agency
- Heavy rain could cause further flooding, landslides, and damage to roads in regions impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.
- Put safety first. Act quickly if you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
- Have grab bags ready with: medications, snacks, water, torches, pet food, and baby formula (if needed) in case you need to evacuate.
- Plan where you will go if you have to evacuate
- Ensure that you have enough food, water, and other essential supplies to last for several days.
- Stay up to date with the latest information from MetService and your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
- Wear protective clothing when cleaning flood water and mud including: mask, goggles, gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and gumboots or work shoes.