Support for rural community

Federated Farmers flood recovery co-ordinator Angela Cushnie (left) with Mitre 10 Mega Ashburton managing director Simon Lye and a donation of heavy-duty shovels for recovery work.

Businesses, organisations, groups and individuals have stepped up to help rural community members impacted by the damaging effects of recent flood waters.

The floods, which hit across Canterbury on May 30, saw rivers redirected across properties, river berms and roads washed out, fences downed, animals lost, and debris strewn about.

Federated Farmers flood recovery co-ordinator Angela Cushnie is part of a co-ordinated team, led by Ashburton District Council, working in Mid Canterbury to help farmers with their flood recovery planning.

She said everyone in the district’s risk areas had been contacted and their ongoing needs were being assessed.

In the immediate aftermath of the flooding – and following some mammoth volunteer turnouts – the clean up was moving from response and into recovery mode, she said.

Information on the needs of families in the affected areas was being processed and once available, no farmer – nor their family – would be left behind, she said.

It did however involve a bit of strategic planning and was a marathon effort, not a sprint, Mrs Cushnie said.

However anyone with immediate concerns, or questions, were encouraged to get in touch either through the Mid Canterbury Farmy Army Facebook page or by phoning 027 603 3457.

There had been many ‘‘boots on the ground’’ volunteers since the flooding and included skilled labour, practical farmers, those able to mentor, and those with light or heavy mechanical equipment such as farmers and contractors.

There was also baking and care packages.

‘‘Everyone is putting in some pretty big hours at the moment, stress levels are high and the initial shock is slowly wearing off,’’ she said.

‘‘Anyone struggling in terms of mental wellbeing can phone or text 1737 or call Rural Support on 0800 787 254.’’

Mitre 10 Mega Ashburton managing director Simon Lye has been one of the many businesses to make contact, donating 50 heavy duty shovels for boots on the ground volunteers.

He said it was a chance for the company to give back to those in the rural community who were very supportive of the business.