NZDF steps up assistance to flood-striken Whanganui

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) sent an additional 25 staff to Whanganui this afternoon to help evacuate residents, fill sandbags, check on residents in flooded areas and man cordons.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to provide additional assistance if required,” Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy, the Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.

This afternoon’s deployment brings to 50 the number of NZDF staff assigned to help in Whanganui and Rangitikei after the councils declared local states of emergency on Tuesday evening.

Last month the NZDF sent staff and machinery twice to help people trapped by floods. On March 11 it sent 10 soldiers and two trucks to help evacuate at least 500 people stranded by floodwater in the Coromandel.

Three days earlier it sent several trucks and about 20 staff to evacuate schoolchildren trapped by torrential rain while camping in the Hunua Ranges.