29 Mar 2019

Haast still without power after flooding

4:04 pm on 29 March 2019

The West Coast township of Haast is still without power since the flooding early this week.

Haast, which has a population of about 250, is not connected to the national grid, relying instead on a local hydro-electric plant for power.

The plant is run by New Zealand Energy, whose director, David Inch, said its river intake has sustained serious damage from the biggest flood he has ever seen.

Workers are trying to clear thousands of cubic metres of gravel and debris from the tunnel leading to the intake, he said.

Mr Inch said they want to restore power as soon as possible, but he cannot yet say when that will be.

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Photo: Supplied

Further north, phone and internet connections to Fox Glacier should be restored by tonight.

The town has been without the services since Tuesday, when the Waiho Bridge was destroyed in flood waters, taking with it the Chorus fibre attached to the bridge.

A spokesperson for Chorus said it is hoped that the services will be restored by tonight.

The spokesperson said they had started putting in the poles on each side of the river that will be used to run fibre across the river, and that will be connected to the existing network.

Civil Defence said the police and emergency services have radio and satellite phones in the case of emergencies.

Meanwhile, the state of emergency has been lifted in the Westland District.

It was put in place on Tuesday after torrential rain hit the area.

One woman died when swept away by a flooded river, and the Waiho River bridge was destroyed.

Westland District Council deputy mayor Latham Martin said multi-agency support to assist the recovery will be ongoing.

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