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Maintaining access and clearing silt and flood-damaged properties priority for QRS

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Maintaining road access and clearing silt and flood-damaged property in Wairoa are the priority activities for Quality Roading and Services (QRS) three weeks on from Cyclone Gabrielle.

QRS Chief executive Jeremy Harker says while the clean-up around Wairoa township continues, keeping roads open so the community can get back on its feet after the disaster is just as vital.

“Our crews are still pushing slips off roads, removing fallen trees, and creating safe passages around dropouts so residents can resume their daily lives albeit with some adaptations.” He says the work right now is all about access and clearing silt. “We’re working hard to connect our communities.”

At the same time, around 30 contractors are working under the guidance of QRS. In Wairoa township itself, there are 34 diggers clearing debris with support from 21 tip trucks. There are dozens of skilled operators in loaders, bobcats, tractors, and dump trucks working every day. During the first two weeks of the emergency response QRS issued over 30,000 litres of diesel.

Every morning for the first two weeks after the cyclone QRS hosted its workers and contractors for a cooked breakfast at the depot. Mr Harker says morale and energy levels have not waned amongst the men and women heading out. “It’s been an exercise in the human spirit and the combined power of local partnerships.”

Once access around the district is secured and properties are cleared QRS will be involved in recovery and reconstruction work. “Our local road structures like bridges and culverts play a vital role and so that’s where we will focus our activity.”

Mr Harker says QRS’s Kaimoana Rd depot was flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle. River water rose around half a metre and rushed through the company’s workshops and machinery. It also flooded staff vehicles. The quick reactions of staff on Tuesday 14 February meant the damage was less than it could have been. Meanwhile, some staff at QRS have been more personally affected by the flooding. “We’re doing all we can to support them,” says Mr Harker. 

7 March 2023

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Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not mine alone, it is the strength of many.

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