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Cleanup...Southland Federated Farmers Farmy Army volunteers (from left) Brooke Sharp (12), Ryan Sharp (11), Tom Ayers (15) and Nathan Sharp (14) clean grass and thistles away from a fence at a Knapdale dairy farm on Saturday. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks says he is in “so in awe” of the way the Eastern Southland community has responded to the recent flooding in the area.

The state of emergency declared in the region has been extended until next Tuesday.

Mr Hicks said the public response to the emergency was testament to the resilience of people.

“I’m just so in awe of the community and the way they have pulled together to get through.”

There had been no deaths or serious injuries he was aware of, he said.

MetService data showed there was 152.6mm of rain from Sunday to Wednesday.

The average rainfall for February is 42.2mm.

This was the first time a Southland-wide civil defence response overseen by Emergency Management Southland had been implemented.

“I’m really impressed with that.

“If we hadn’t had a very big overview then I think we would have been in a less well-off situation than we are now and I’ve got a lot of admiration for everyone right around the province in the way they have rolled their sleeves up and done what needs to be done.”

There was much to be learned from how the situation had been dealt with.

“We need to take stock of those [responses] and make sure we’ve got them recorded for the next time this happens.”

There would be a next time but hopefully not too soon, he said.

“We live on the river and that is just part and parcel of life on the river.”

The Southland Mayoral Relief Fund had been boosted by a $100,000 contribution from the Government and would be made available to help Southlanders impacted by the floods.

Emergency Southland controller Angus McKay said it was very encouraging to get additional government money to support local people who had suffered hardship or been disadvantaged as a result of the flooding.

“If a local resident, business or organisation has been impacted by the floods, and cannot get support anywhere else, they will be able to apply for one-off financial assistance from the fund,” Mr McKay said.

The fund was originally set up to help people to recover from the extensive 1984 Southland floods.

“It’s appropriate that we use the fund to help local people impacted by the latest floods.”

An Emergency Management Southland spokesperson encouraged farmers in the Environment Southland catchment to contact staff if they had concerns regarding stopbanks.

Staff were assessing floodbanks on Monday and prioritised work for the Mataura banks and the Boundary Creek floodbank.

“The Mataura floodbanks have some seepage and work is being done boring holes and filling them with polymer, thus forming a wall in the middle of the bank, which both strengthens them and stops the flow of water.”

Staff were looking at an upgrade for the Boundary Creek floodbank.

Farmers needed to make staff aware if they would drain the water from paddocks through floodbanks.

Creating a hole in the bank needed “to be done in stages, not in one big chunk”.

“This is being allowed because of the state of emergency and is not something that can happen regularly.”

Staff needed to be present to ensure holes were backfilled correctly.

They began making detailed assessment of all stopbanks yesterday.

“The team is aware there have been some issues, for example, in the Cattle Flat, Waikaia area, and so repairs will be prioritised as they [sites] are inspected.”