Welfare centres have been set up in Whakatane and Kawerau as a state of emergency declared in the Whakatane District.
Edgecumbe township has been evacuated today in what is being described as a 500-year event.
The rural area around Titoki Road to the west of Whakatane has also been evacuated due to the overtopping of a floodbank on the Whakatane River.
Again residents are asked to stay with family or friends, or report to the welfare centre in WhakatÄne.
The Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers are at historically high flood levels and river flows are unlikely to subside sufficiently to allow access to cut-off areas in Taneatua, Ruatoki and Waimana, and the evacuated areas, for some time. Evacuees may need to be out of their homes for up to 72 hours.
The Taneatua reservoir is currently at 40 per cent capacity, and the power transformer appears to be under water. Horizon Energy has a contingency plan of delivering a diesel generator by tractor/trailer unit to the site. We are awaiting feedback from Horizon as to when they may deliver the unit. Taneatua residents are therefore asked to conserve water until further notice.
Below are photos and video of flooding in and around Edegcumbe and the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty.
SunLive journalist Ryan Wood shot this video on his way to the Easetrn Bay this morning. He says driving along the TEL this morning was like travelling through a rice paddy – water either side in the fields.