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Health advice following West Coast Floods – Update 1 – Sunday 18 July 11.30am

Sunday 18 July 2021Health news7 minutes to read

Westport

Buller Health evacuated 11 patients last night to Club Buller in Queen Street.

An additional six patients were accommodated in a makeshift ward at Club Buller and some will be transferred to Te Nīkau Hospital in Greymouth today. 

All have settled in to their new surroundings. Staff report that patients adapted to sleeping on mattresses on the floor and were enjoying porridge and toast for breakfast this morning.

Kitchen staff from Buller Health are using the facilities at Club Buller and are able to access supplies from the kitchen at Buller Health now that flood waters are receding.

The Buller Health facility remains closed until further notice.

Urgent Care health clinic – Sunday

An Urgent Care health clinic is being held in Westport from 11am – 1pm today

Anyone with urgent health needs is welcome to attend.

No appointments needed – people will be seen in order of urgency.

Coast Medical

161 Palmerston Street, Westport

Phone 03 789 5000

If you have a respiratory illness please wear a mask or face covering.

One GP and a nurse will be available to provide treatment and care.

Only drive if it is safe for you to do so.

  • If you need health advice please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 – calls are answered 24/7

If you need to be seen, they will tell you what to do and where to go.

  • If it’s an emergency, call 111 as per usual
  • For wellbeing support you can talk to a counsellor free of charge, call or text 1737 any time of the day or night.
  • For pregnancy support and advice over the phone, please call your LMC/midwife.
  • You can also visit our HealthInfo website for trusted health advice on a range of issues.

Flood water

Please treat all flood water as contaminated.

Sewage may be mixed with flood waters and can cause serious illness.

That means you need to wash your hands thoroughly or use hand gel after coming into contact with flood water.

If your clothes are wet with flood water please put them aside to wash later on (when we’re not conserving water)

There is also a danger of injury from floating objects and hazards hidden below the surface. If there are power outages in your area, be wary of power lines that might be down and be even more hazardous in wet conditions.

Further practical advice on managing safely and cleaning up after flooding can be found here

Drinking water

***BOIL WATER NOTICE IN PLACE FOR WESTPORT, CARTERS BEACH & SURROUNDS***

As flood waters have continued to rise in many areas, a precautionary Boil Water Notice has been put in place by the Buller District Council for the following areas:

  • Westport & surrounds
  • Carters Beach

A boil water notice means you need to boil or treat all water from taps/tankers before drinking, brushing teeth or using in food preparation – bringing water to a rolling boil is sufficient to kill bugs.

If you cannot boil water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes.

It’s important to follow this advice to protect your health.

If you don’t have mains water (i.e. your water comes from a spring, river, roof or well) and you think it has been affected by surface run-off, don’t use it for drinking purposes. If it appears clear but you are still unsure, it can be made safe by boiling or adding bleach as above.

Water tanks that were filled before the heavy rain and have not pumped new water from a ground water supply (spring, stream/river or well) since, can be used as normal.

If in any doubt about your water supply, boil or treat it before consuming.

Westport, Carters Beach and Punakaiki are also on Conserve Water Notices, so please keep your showers short and avoid flushing the toilet, doing washing and running the dishwasher to help relieve pressure on the wastewater system.

Other areas in Buller remain on permanent Boil Water Notices as their water is currently untreated: Waimangaroa, Hector, Ngakawau, Mokihinui, South Granity and Little Wanganui.

In the Greymouth District Blackball already has a precautionary Boil Water Notice.

For the latest updates on drinking water, ‘like’ your local District Council’s Facebook page, or check the latest news on their website:

Buller District Council https://bullerdc.govt.nz/

Greymouth District Council https://www.greydc.govt.nz/

Westland District Council https://www.westlanddc.govt.nz/

Food

  • If you lose power at any stage, avoid opening your fridge and freezers unnecessarily. If frozen food has been defrosted but has been kept chilled, it should be used as soon as possible – as if it had been bought fresh.
  • Do not refreeze high risk items such as meat, fish and poultry. If you think these high risk items may have been at room temperature for two or more hours, do not eat them – if in doubt, throw it out.

General health and wellbeing

  • Continue to check on neighbours and vulnerable people near where you live as long as the disruption caused by the weather lasts.
    Check they have supplies, including their medications, and share with them the advice on water and food safety
  • In an emergency, always call 111.
  • If you require essential prescription medications and your supply is running low, call your usual GP number for advice.

Stay ready and informed

Flood clean up advice

Below are some tips to help as you embark on the clean-up, if your home or property was affected by the floods over the past few days.

  • Contact your insurance company and take photos.
  • Treat all water as contaminated – so wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve been in contact with floodwaters and mud/silt from inside your house.
  • Do not move back into a damp house, particularly if you have young children/babies.
  • If you had a power cut food in your freezer will stay safely frozen for up to 24 hours as long as the freezer door is kept closed. After 24 hours the food should be discarded.
  • Please limit the amount of waste water your household is generating ie – from flushing the toilet, using the washing machine – as waste-water systems are struggling to cope with the deluge. Even though the rain has stopped in most areas the run-off from hill areas is adding to the floodwaters.
  • If you’re finding it hard to cope at the moment ask friends and family for help, call your usual general practice team – even if it’s after-hours and they’re closed – a nurse is available 24/7 and can provide free health advice.
  • Call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor – any time of day or night.
  • Please check on your neighbours – particularly if they live alone, are elderly or vulnerable.
  • Check your local council’s website to see if there is a ‘boil water’ notice in place.

Wellbeing advice

Helping others and giving your time can make a big difference, whether it’s helping someone with a big clean up job or spending time talking to people about how they are doing.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, so expect those around you to be coping differently.

Our brains react chemically to stressful situations – releasing adrenaline which can cause us to feel shaky, queasy or on-edge and make it hard for us to concentrate. This response is our body’s alarm system – it is your body telling you to be alert and ready for action.

These emotions should calm – there are things you can do to help you feel better. Although it is difficult, try and keep your routine as normal as you can – especially when around children who will take their lead from you.

Seek help if you’re having trouble sleeping or coping with day to day activities.

For further informationcommunications@cdhb.health.nz

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Page last updated: 18 July 2021

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