Residents and businesses throughout the Wellington region have been cleaning up today following Thursday's storms and flooding.

The Wellington Student Volunteer Army has also offered to help with the clean-up and can be contacted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/367311193475353/ , by email at Kelburn@vuwsa.org.nz  or phone 04 463 6716.

Helpful hints for residents and businesses following flooding include:

If your property sustained any damage or had flood water through it:

  • Ring your insurer as soon as possible. In almost all cases the insurance company will send an insurance assessor to look at your property. They will confirm what repairs and replacements are needed and covered by your policy. EQC covers land damage.
  • Always make your own record of flood damage
  • Use a permanent ink pen to mark on the wall the maximum height of the flood water. Do this in every room affected by flooding.
  • Photograph or video record your damaged property.
  • List the damage to your property and belongings.
  • If your insurance policy covers you for loss of perishable goods, make a list of all the foods you throw away. Include any food touched by flood water and anything in your fridge or freezer ruined by loss of power.

Ask the insurance company:

  • How long it will be before the assessor visits.
  • If you are to clean your property or if they will get a company to do it for you.
  • If they will provide you with temporary accommodation.

Things to help with your insurance claim:

  • Confirm the insurance company will pay for any service or equipment you need.
  • Make a note of all telephone calls. Record the date, name and what was agreed.
  • Keep copies of all letters, emails and faxes you send and receive.
  • Keep receipts.
  • Don’t throw anything away until told (except ruined food).
  • Depending on your policy, the insurance company may only offer to clean and repair something, not replace it.
  • If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
  • If you do not have insurance, your local council should be able to provide information on hardship grants or charities that may be able to help you.

Cleaning up:

  • Throw away food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods. It is impossible to know if containers were damaged and the seals compromised. Food contaminated by floodwater can cause severe infections.
  • Discard wooden spoons, plastic utensils, and baby bottle teats and dummies if they have been covered by floodwater. There is no way to safely clean them.
  • Disinfect metal pans and utensils by boiling them in clean or properly treated water.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, effluent and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage and effluent systems are health hazards.
  • You can clean and disinfect your property using ordinary household products.
  • A garden hose is useful for washing down. Do not use high-pressure hoses as they blast contaminated matter into the air.
  • If you are drying your property naturally, keep doors and windows open as much as possible. If using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows.
  • Flood water can make the air in your home unhealthy. This is because when things get wet for more than 2 days they usually get mouldy. There may also be germs and bugs in your home after a flood. Hence, it is important to clean and dry your house and everything in it.
  • Mould may be more likely to make some people with asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems sick. So talk to your doctor or another medical professional if you have questions about cleaning or working in a home that has been flooded.
  • If there is a large amount of mould, you may want to hire professional help to clean up the mould.
  • When cleaning protect yourself by wearing a certified respirator, goggles, gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and boots or work shoes.
  • Throw away anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned.

Released: 15 May 2015