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Emergency Staff Meet on Weather Bomb

More than 75 people are gathering in Hamilton on Friday to examine in detail what happened in last month’s “weather bomb”.

In a debrief meeting convened by Environment Waikato, participants in the event from district councils to the Insurance Council, police and fire service will meet to discuss the event and what could be improved in responding to such an emergency.

Two districts, Thames Coromandel and South Waikato, declared official civil defence emergencies during the event.

A deepening low on June 21 brought stormy conditions to many parts of the North Island, with severe winds and heavy rain pounding the Thames Coast and the South Waikato.

A woman was swept away at a caravan park at Waiomu and Thames was without power, water and sewerage. Water and electricity were lost in both Tirau and Arapuni, and schools and factories were closed.

Regional Civil Defence controller, Environment Waikato deputy Chief Executive Bob Priest said because two parts of the Region declared emergencies the Regional Council was pleased to offer an opportunity for the various parties to discuss their roles in responding to the event. The large number of people wanting to attend the debrief showed the exercise was clearly worthwhile.

“It’s appropriate to take stock of what happened and the lessons that can be learned from this sort of event. We had barely started to recover from the weather bomb in June when the persistent rain of early July brought more floods to the Region.

“We can always do things better, and it is a good time to examine how everyone worked during this event.”

Attendees at this week’s meeting include mayors and staff from district councils throughout the Region, Auckland Regional Council, Environment BoP, power companies, fire service, police, St John Ambulance, representatives of the Ministries of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and Agriculture, Transit, Tranzrail, WINZ, Federated Farmers and Health Waikato.

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