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Just like that, it’s my first column of 2020 and February has already rolled around.

While we are only in week seven of the new year, mother nature has already managed to wreak havoc on Clutha.

Last week’s torrential rainfalls across the south meant flooding, road closures throughout the district, school closures, and a missed Elton John concert for many.

West Otago was hit incredibly hard and all you have to do is look at the damage to crops and paddocks when driving in the district to get an understanding of how much water there was.

A massive thank you to Clutha man Mike Hurring, who came to the rescue when I was stuck in Clutha and helped get me in to Gore.

After spending the day there in various welfares centres, when the road opened I made my way back to Clutha to see how people were holding up.

Visiting the welfare centre and speaking to people there, everyone was in good spirits.

I’d expect nothing less in a place like Clutha, as the community comes together to support one another.

A huge amount of thanks must go to the Clutha District Council staff and councillors who swung in to action in the State of Emergency.

One thing not many people know or understand is, these staff and councillors wear many hats and become our Civil Defence when disaster strikes.

They all did an incredible job and we are very lucky to have such a proactive team here in Clutha.

I also visited the detention pond, which was of some concern during the flooding, but served its purpose well during the flooding.

The real work, however, begins now as the flood water recedes and the scale of damage is revealed.

Farmers have lost crops, baleage, infrastructure and more while our roads have also incurred various amounts of damage.

Now is the real-time though when our tight-knit communities truly shine.

I’d encourage you all to reach out and offer support to those affected, whether they be neighbours, family, friends or even complete strangers.

A simple are you doing okay, or what can I do to help, will go a long way.

One thing we have learned in all of last week’s recent events is we are prepared.

We now just have to hope mother nature shines the sun for a while and allows us all to dry out a bit.

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