FOR FLOODING IN NEW ZEALAND
waters can destroy the land, washing away roads, bridges,
railway tracks and buildings. Crops can be ruined and
livestock drowned. Lives are also at risk, particularly
in flash floods. Floods are one of New Zealand’s
most frequent emergency events. They happen when storms
and heavy rain make rivers overflow their banks or drainage
systems overflow into the streets. Normal
rainfall soaks into the soil, is taken up by trees and
plants, and runs off the land to form our streams and
rivers. Floods happen when there is too much water and
the run-off is too much to be carried by the rivers.
THERE ARE FOUR MAIN TYPES OF FLOOD IN NEW ZEALAND:
rivers: During heavy rain rivers can overflow their
banks into the floodplain. A floodplain is the flat section
next to a river, and these can flood quite regularly.
Flash floods happen when heavy rain falls
in a small area with little warning.
Coastal areas can sometimes flood because
of unusually high tides or tsunami.
Urban areas have a lot of concrete or hard
surfaces which stop rainwater from soaking into the soil,
so it is channelled into storm water drains. When the rain
falls faster than the storm water system can manage, we
get urban flash flooding. These floods usually happen very
quickly and can block roads and damage buildings. Luckily,
they usually don’t last very long.
Flood waters can destroy the land and wash away or damage
roads, bridges, railway tracks and buildings. Crops can
be flooded and livestock drowned. People have to take care
and be prepared, particularly in flash floods where fast-flowing
water filled with debris can sweep people away. The waters
can even be strong enough to pick up vehicles. After a major
flood there will be a lot of damage and pollution to clean
up. It may take months or years to recover.
Are you ready in case a flood occurs?
Find out about the worst flood in your area and how high
the flood waters reached. Record this height and share it
with your family – would it reach your home? Make
a plan with your family to get through an emergency. Think
about the things you need every day and work out what you
would do if you didn't have them. Make
your plan – print it out, stick it on the fridge and
make sure everyone knows the plan.
TO PREPARE FOR A FLOOD IN NEW ZEALAND
BEFORE A FLOOD
* Find out from your local council if your home or business
is at risk from flooding. Ask about evacuation plans and
local public alerting systems; how you can reduce the
risk of future flooding to your home or business; and
what to do with your pets and livestock if you have to
* Know where the closest high ground is and how to get
* Develop a Household Emergency Plan. Assemble and maintain
yourEmergency Survival Items for your home as well as
a portable getaway kit.
* Move animals and pets to safety.
* Store chemicals in a high, safe place. If a flood occurs
and these chemicals leak, they could be dangerous.
* Keep valuables and some food and water above the high
water mark. Attics or upstairs rooms are good places for
storage, as long as there is easy access.
* Check your insurance policy to ensure you have sufficient
WHEN A FLOOD IS IMMINENT AND DURING A FLOOD
* Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management
officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice
for your community and situation.
* If you have a disability or need support, make contact
with your support network.
* Put your household emergency plan into action and check
your getaway kit. Be prepared to evacuate quickly if it
* Where possible, move pets inside or to a safe place,
and move stock to higher ground.
* Consider using sandbags to keep water away from your
* Lift valuable household items and chemicals as high
above the floor as possible.
* Fill bathtubs, sinks and storage containers with clean
water in case water becomes contaminated.
* Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities as
it can help prevent damage to your home or community.
Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges.
* Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters
unless it is absolutely essential.
AFTER A FLOOD
* It may not be safe to return home even when the floodwaters
have receded. Continue to listen to your local radio station
for civil defence instructions.
* Help others if you can, especially people who may require
* Throw away food including canned goods and water that
has been contaminated by floodwater.
* Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until
you are certain it is not contaminated. If in doubt, check
with your local council or public health authority.
* Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate
* If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs
for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact
your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon