The Insurance Council of NZ (ICNZ) has today put out storm preparation and flood recovery tips for those affected by the severe wet weather that’s battered the West Coast and is now moving up the country.

A State of Emergency has been declared for the West Coat of the South Island after heavy rain began battering the region yesterday. Early reports from the Mayor suggest that a small number of domestic and commercial properties have been flooded in Hokitika.

The severe weather has moved north towards Wellington as the day has progressed.

“It’s important communities look out for each other in times like these,” said ICNZ Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “Check on your neighbours and friends and make your properties as storm-safe as possible without putting anyone’s personal safety at risk.”

“In the days and weeks to come, there will be important conversations to have about climate change and the increasing likelihood of these sorts of storms and the flooding they bring,” said Grafton. “MetService have noted this storm is in part due to warm marine weather, which is something we expect to see more of as climate change progresses. Our west coast is particularly vulnerable to these sorts of weather fronts, so it’s important the council and communities have conversations about risk and resilience and how they can begin planning and adapting for these sorts of events to reduce the likelihood of future property losses.”

As the weather continues to move north, we expect that more reports of damage will come to light. At this stage, there’s no indication of how major any property damage has been or how much the event might cost.

Tips for preparing for a storm

  1. Make sure your emergency kit is well-stocked. If you’re not sure what to include, check out getthru.govt.nz.
  2. If there’s a chance your house will flood, move electrical items off the ground and unplug them.
  3. If you’re near the coast or a waterway, park your car in the garage or move it to higher ground.
  4. Clean out blocked gutters and drains before any rain begins. If your roadside drains are blocked, call the local council.
  5. Take down outdoor umbrellas and bring in or tie down outdoor furniture where possible. If you have a trampoline, turn it upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to wind.

Tips for recovering from flooding

  1. Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.
  2. Contact your insurer or broker as soon as possible.
  3. Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims.
  4. Don’t enter flood water, and don’t operate cars or appliances that may have been flooded.
  5. Get essential services repaired and keep copies of invoices.
  6. Make your home safe and sanitary but don’t do non-essential repairs.
  7. Always wear protective gear, including gloves and masks, in case you’re exposed to hazardous material.
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