The cost of the clean-up after last year's significant flooding in eastern Otago and Canterbury has more than doubled to nearly $55 million, prompting fresh calls to help councils tackle climate change.
The storm in July last year left more than 2,000 homes in settlements south of Dunedin, as well as in Christchurch and Timaru, submerged in water. It also caused millions of dollars in damage to roads as slips came crashing down and road surfaces were stripped away.
Authorities confirmed that the estimated cost of the storm had more than doubled, from about $25 million in August to nearly $55 million, the NZ Herald reported.
The figures comprised costs incurred, or expected to be incurred, by the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency, as well as insurance claims received since the event, the report said.
The DCC's share of that bill – estimated to be up to $20 million – was "a fair bit to swallow'', even if covered by insurers or NZTA subsidies, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told the NZ Herald.
Cull said it also highlighted the challenges faced by other councils, many of which lacked the resources to adapt to the risks associated with climate change. “We've really got to get ahead of this,” he said.
“This highlights the importance of undertaking adaptation work to combat the effects of climate change,” Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said. “The sooner we start addressing and combating issues like rising sea levels and increased frequency of extreme weather events, the lower the risk we will face in future from a comparable event.”
Kaiaua coast damage assessments complete
Flood claims expected for insurers