Wrecked cars, broken belongings and vandalized gardens have emerged from the floods in west Auckland after Monday night’s deluge.
Bethells Beach remains isolated, an unknown number of people are outside their homes and a group of colleagues from boot camp have come together to tackle the cleanup.
In Taupaki, the clutter that covers people’s properties is described as “disgusting … swampy, slimy … muddy, slippery, disgusting” by resident Sharon.
He woke up to the waves crashing on his front deck and even saw a carp swimming Monday night, despite being an inland community.
His home survived, but today he counted casualties in his garage and front yard.
“My car has been written off and the truck doesn’t work either. Dad works from home, he has a big garage. Everything is ruined,” he said.
Amidst Alert Level 4 restrictions, some residents have managed to find a helping hand for cleanup.
Mike Lockton is also in Taupaki and is among half a dozen Mad Fit boot camp members who jumped into action and donned their PPE when they learned of the damage to their trainers’ home.
“We have come to help and clean the garden to make things safe for Ben and Jamie, just to help make things safe for them and their young family,” he explained.
“The fence is completely knocked down. There was a meter and a half of water here, so a lot of things in the shed have been destroyed, and the back garage, which is a place to sleep, a lot of the furniture has been destroyed. So we are trying to get out and save what we can. What we can’t is get into the container. “
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has clarified that it’s okay to dip into urgent jobs, as long as people follow public health measures, keep track of who they are with, and don’t gather in large groups.
People are urged to consider whether work can wait and, if possible, follow physical distancing.
Businesses, including plumbers, electricians and locksmiths, can also operate when there are immediate health and safety risks, Hipkins said.
But some of them who would like to help are caught in the flood.
In Huapai, water tank cleaning owner Daniel Bott was trying, unsuccessfully, to start his work truck today, one of three cars in the driveway that was submerged.
“Nothing will start. Severe and total flood damage. The flood also took away my tool shed, which took all my electrical equipment, as well as my livelihood,” he said.
In true level 4 style, Cassie Keegan, owner of Kumeū Gym, said she was watching remotely from her home, when the floodwaters swallowed dozens of exercise machines.
“My husband Rob had some text messages to say that there had been a flood in Kumeū, so he got on our cameras,” she said.
“We could see here that the water was up to the calves.”
He said the water was contaminated with septic waste and he hopes very little can be recovered.
Auckland City Council has had response teams assessing the damage today and has yet to confirm how many houses are uninhabitable.
A spokesperson said there would be at least two groups of people in emergency accommodation tonight, while others will take shelter with family and friends.
Two Civil Defense Centers at 6 Henderson Valley and the Kumeū Community Center were open earlier and were expected to close at 6 p.m.