Communities and council staff praised for supporting victims of tornado

Press Release – Auckland Council
Upper Harbour Local Board Chair Margaret Miles and Auckland Mayor Len Brown have praised local communities and council staff for their prompt response to supporting those people affected by yesterday’s tornado.

Mrs Miles, whose property at Paremoremo in Auckland’s north-west sustained damage, says it is so often in times of tragedy that the strength of our communities comes to the fore.

“€œThe hearts of our Upper Harbour Local Board members go out to the families of the victims and we’ve been heartened to see so many fellow residents rally to support their neighbours.”

Mayor Len Brown spoke with Mrs Miles and other community leaders at Whenuapai and Hobsonville yesterday afternoon to assess the situation, consult emergency services and comfort the locals.

“Auckland Council Civil Defence, welfare staff and building inspectors have been working closely with emergency services. We stand ready to do whatever is needed to help our people recover from this devastating event,” Len Brown says.

Margaret Miles was at home when the weather bomb went off, sending her gazebo airborne before crashing through a window.

“It was very frightening but nothing compared to the loss of life and more significant property damage just a few miles away,”€ she says.

Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair Vanessa Neeson adds her condolences to those who lost their loved ones following yesterday’s tornado and her sincere best wishes to those who lost their homes and endured other hardships as a result of the storm.

“My own family was caught up in the tornado’s path so I have some first-hand understanding of how it feels,” she said. “Many of us in Hobsonville will be starting to rebuild our lives today.”

Preliminary estimates have put the cost of the tornado at $11m, although this is hardly the first thing on the council’s mind as it moves from response to recovery mode.

Auckland Council’€™s Civil Defence Manager Clive Manley briefed Prime Minister John Key before the local Helensville MP inspected the damage.

News from Auckland Council – December 6
The Mayor says Aucklanders’ thoughts are with those affected by this afternoon’s tornado and severe rain in the Hobsonville area. Len Brown has spent the afternoon in the area with emergency services, inspecting the damage and meeting some of those affected.

“My deepest condolences and commiserations to the families of those who have died. This is a real tragedy and my heart goes out to the community and to the company for which the deceased were working. A number of people are in hospital and they have my best wishes for a speedy recovery.

“Up to 150 homes have suffered some kind of damage, and many of the people living in those homes have been relocated to Whenuapai Air Force Base,” says Len Brown.

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the job being done by the Air Force and the real pace with which they have dealt with the emergency. Thanks also to all the emergency services for their rapid and hard work today, including the council’s welfare staff and building inspectors.”

“The worst of the weather now appears to be over, but I appeal to people to take care as they drive home tonight. There is still flooding and debris on roads.”

“Lives have been lost, people injured and property badly damaged. Those affected and their families are in our hearts and minds.”

Electricity was knocked out in many parts of Auckland including Henderson, Greenhithe, Hobsonville, Riverhead, Meadowbank and St Johns. There was widespread surface flooding on roads and motorways throughout Auckland and motorists are urged to take care or stay off the roads if possible.

Auckland Council building inspectors are attending the worst affected areas. Civil Defence is liaising with Whenuapai Airbase and providing support as required.

Earlier media release from Auckland Council
The Mayor urges Aucklanders to stay safe in the heavy weather that has hit Auckland, after a tornado in Hobsonville and heavy rain and surface flooding in West Auckland.

Auckland Civil Defence is working with emergency services, and closely monitoring the situation in West Auckland where there are reports of fatalities and roof damage following a tornado around lunchtime. Police have set up an operational base at Whenuapai near where the worst of the damage is reported.

 

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