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Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the flooding in Otago as a medium-scale event for Dunedin City, Clutha District, Waitaki District and Central Otago District.

“This is recognition of the damage caused and the challenges faced by the region, and triggers additional Government support,” says Mr Guy.

The classification triggers additional funding for targeted recovery assistance, including a Primary Industries recovery coordinator to run a flood recovery committee, coordinate the many agencies involved and to support Federated Farmers’ management of matching offers with need. Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) scheme will match jobseekers with clean-up work on farms and in urban areas.

“With flooding like this, the real work starts after the rain has stopped. Some farms on the Taieri plains are still under more than a metre of water and as that clears away, it leaves sodden and silt-covered pasture which is no good for feeding animals.”

As Minister of Civil Defence, Mr Guy was briefed this morning by Dunedin City Council Deputy Mayor and officials on the recovery which is making good progress. Mr Guy has also made a contribution of $50,000 to the Dunedin Mayoral Relief Fund to help people complete essential work to get back into clean, habitable homes.

“There is a range of support available to the Otago community. The government reimburses local authorities the costs of providing for the immediate welfare of evacuees, such as food and accommodation.

“Provided the costs are above a low threshold, the government will also pay a large share of the costs that councils face to repair essential infrastructure such as drinking water, storm water and waste water systems, and river management systems. A substantial share is also contributed to the costs of fixing local roads and bridges.

“For farmers, the priority now is getting feed to stock. Even getting bales of hay on tractors across boggy paddocks is a huge challenge for many. There are stories of silage stored for winter floating away in the floodwaters.”

Federated Farmers have activated their feedline on 0800 327 646 and the majority of calls coming in are farmers seeking grazing immediately. Fonterra have activated their flood response team to help with the clean-up.

Farmers can receive technical extension advice by industry groups, and one-on-one advice with a focus on feed budgeting, farm management and animal health following flooding.

The Otago Rural Support Trust is also providing some funding for farmers including professional advice on feed budgets to get through to spring and beyond, and mental health assistance where otherwise there may be a wait for public counselling.

Civil Defence Payments are available through Work and Income to meet the immediate needs of people in affected areas. Other hardship assistance is available which can include grants for things such as temporary accommodation, food, clothing and loss of livelihood for those unable to work during an emergency.

Conditions are being closely monitored in other flood-affected districts such as South Canterbury.

Farmers with offers of grazing or feed call 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) Requests for feed and onfarm help call 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) Other assistance, advice and support call the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

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