Recovery advice for isolated communities

Note – this was distributed via local civil defense organisations and to local media for them to distribute through channels other than on-line ones. It is posted here for the record.   

Advice follows on what people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle can do to begin their recovery from an insurance perspective in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti and across the Northland Region including Whangārei, Kaipara District and Far North District.

Insurers recognise that many people will not be able to quickly inform their insurers of a claim given the lack of telephone and internet services affecting many regions. While people should contact their insurer as soon as they are able, they should not wait to begin recovery and loss prevention actions if they have the means to do so safely.

While it can be good to make a start on putting things right, people should prioritise their, and their whanau’s, immediate welfare needs.

Insurers are mobilising through local civil defense to have a presence on the ground where possible across affected communities.

Insurers have the strength and experience to stand by the community through the long haul of the recovery.

Recovery advice  

  • Put safety first. Stay out of badly damaged buildings and, if possible, flood water. Do not drive flooded vehicles. If your property has been flooded, turn off the power. Don’t turn it back on until it has been checked by an electrician.
  • Temporary accommodation – demand for immediate temporary accommodation is already very high. For those with home or contents insurance, including renters, temporary accommodation benefits are typically available. These benefits are particularly useful for people that may be out of their homes for weeks or months while their homes are repaired to a habitable standard. Once your immediate needs for accommodation have been met, talk to your insurer about the specific amount of money or time available for this under your policy.
  • If your property was damaged in the last fortnight’s climate event (27 Jan to 2 Feb) but now has additional damage, be sure to record the new damage and report that to your insurer when possible.

What you can do to start cleaning up

  • Mark and photography the highest point of any flooding.
  • You can start with emergency repairs to make your home safe and sanitary. Keep receipts and a record of work done.
  • Dispose of fully flooded property, especially carpets, soft furniture, such as sofas and beds, plus other ruined or contaminated items that can’t otherwise be properly cleaned.
  • Dispose of flood contaminated food or that that has otherwise spoiled in fridges and freezes that lost power [for more than 24 and 48 hrs respectively]. Record this to add to your contents claim.
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment if you’re doing this yourself. List everything that you remove, take photographs and, where possible, get together any proof of purchase such as receipts that you have. You will need such records to support your claim.
  • Set aside items that can be cleaned. Do not keep unsanitary items in your home.
  • When the weather allows, start the drying out process. Remove all the water you can, open windows and doors to get as much air in as possible. If you can get fans and dehumidifiers, use these safely.
  • Do not remove hard floor coverings, wall linings or structural elements of a property or disturb any materials which might contain hazardous substances. You must talk to your insurer if this is required, and only suitably qualified professionals should undertake this work.

Contact/Tukua ki:  [email protected]

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