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You don’t realise how truly amazing our community is until disaster strikes.

As the rain fell and the rivers began to rise many people within our communities kicked in to action.

Our emergency services staff and volunteers evacuated homes, making sure people and pets were safe and kept everyone warm and well until they were allowed to return home.

We cannot thank these people enough.

I’ve visited most of the communities affected by the flooding in Southland and Clutha over the past week to see first-hand the effects of the flooding and more importantly lend my support. 

As the water has gone down in most areas except for the lower catchments, the phase has switched from emergency mode, protecting people and property, to getting farms back up and running.

In a disaster, the immediate response is always an incredible effort, but the real work starts once everyone has returned home and the clean-up begins.

The true damage being unveiled shows winter crops destroyed and baleage gone, but if there is anybody who can get through this, it is our farmers.

Houses in Mataura and Gore have been ruined and some rural properties have not fared so well either, what is amazing though is in these incredibly tough times, here in the south we all come together.

It has been incredible to see the amount of people from far and wide put their hands up to assist in the clean-up efforts.

The Farmy Army established by the Southland Federated Farmers team has done an incredible job getting farms up and running again.

We know it is also not only our farmers affected but businesses and individuals too, and I’d encourage anyone who still requires assistance to reach out.

The effects of these floods will be felt for a lot longer yet too, and we need to continue to work together and help each other.

It was great to see the positive spirits on show at the Southern Field Days last week despite the tough time some people are going through.

Catching up with farmers, business owners, employees and everyone else affected by the floods, it was amazing to see so many happy faces.

It is the Southland way, we just get on with what needs to be done. 

We’re still going through a tough time at the moment but we’re a resilient region and I know we will work together to get through this.

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