From the beginning of mankinds time on earth, humans have tried to build homes that would keep their families safe. From caves to small huts to castles and underground bunkers, humans have continued to strive for safety.
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1. Rising rivers: During heavy rain rivers can overflow their banks into the floodplain. A floodplain is the flat section next to a river, and these can flood quite regularly.
2. Flash floods happen when heavy rain falls in a small area with little warning.
3. Coastal areas can sometimes flood because of unusually high tides or tsunami.
4. Urban areas have a lot of concrete or hard surfaces which stop rainwater from soaking into the soil, so it is channelled into storm water drains. When the rain falls faster than the storm water system can manage, we get urban flash flooding. These floods usually happen very quickly and can block roads and damage buildings. Luckily, they usually don’t last very long.

Flood waters can destroy the land and wash away or damage roads, bridges, railway tracks and buildings. Crops can be flooded and livestock drowned. People have to take care and be prepared, particularly in flash floods where fast-flowing water filled with debris can sweep people away. The waters can even be strong enough to pick up vehicles. After a major flood there will be a lot of damage and pollution to clean up. It may take months or years to recover.

Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand

* Find out from your local council if your home or business is at risk from flooding. Ask about evacuation plans and local public alerting systems; how you can reduce the risk of future flooding to your home or business; and what to do with your pets and livestock if you have to evacuate.
* Know where the closest high ground is and how to get there.
* Develop a Household Emergency Plan. Assemble and maintain yourEmergency Survival Items for your home as well as a portable getaway kit.
* Move animals and pets to safety.
* Store chemicals in a high, safe place. If a flood occurs and these chemicals leak, they could be dangerous.
* Keep valuables and some food and water above the high water mark. Attics or upstairs rooms are good places for storage, as long as there is easy access.
* Check your insurance policy to ensure you have sufficient cover.

* Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
* If you have a disability or need support, make contact with your support network.
* Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit. Be prepared to evacuate quickly if it becomes necessary.
* Where possible, move pets inside or to a safe place, and move stock to higher ground.
* Consider using sandbags to keep water away from your home.
* Lift valuable household items and chemicals as high above the floor as possible.
* Fill bathtubs, sinks and storage containers with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
* Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities as it can help prevent damage to your home or community. Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges.
* Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.

* It may not be safe to return home even when the floodwaters have receded. Continue to listen to your local radio station for civil defence instructions.
* Help others if you can, especially people who may require special assistance.
* Throw away food including canned goods and water that has been contaminated by floodwater.
* Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated. If in doubt, check with your local council or public health authority.
* Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
* If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.

Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand

5 Tips to insuring in a flood zone
Floods are New Zealand’s number one hazard in terms of frequency, losses and declared civil defence emergencies. Floods damage property and can cause injury and loss of life, as well as contaminating water and land. Historically we associated flood risk with a small pocket of locations, but we are now observing floods throughout all of New Zealand.
Recently local councils have become a lot more proactive in identifying problem areas that are at risk of flooding. Geo Mapping is being used to identify areas that are flood susceptible and at a risk of flooding. Generally areas will be identified as low, medium or high risk and will refer to the risk of flooding as a 1 in 100 year flood event or 1 in 50 year flood event. Flooding can be described as ponding, overland flow, and coastal inundation. Unfortunately there is no single standard – meaning data, reporting and risk management can vary from council to council.

1. Arm yourself with information
If you are purchasing a property in a coastal or low lying area become a private investigator for a day. It is not always enough to rely on the Real Estate Agent. A LIM report will identify if the area or property have been classified by the council as hazardous. The Certificate of Title will inform you if a Section 36, 73 or 74 of the Building Act has been issued. You can also go online and find the property on the local councils geo map and look for hazards. Alternatively you can visit or call the council to find out more information.

2. Talk to a local
If the property or area is known to flood or at risk of flooding ask neighbours and other locals about their experiences with previous flooding. This is especially important if you are new or unfamiliar with the area. It can also be beneficial knowing who the current owner has been insured with incase you do experience difficulties.

3. Be prepared to pay more
It is more than likely that you will be able to get insurance. Unfortunately it wont always be with your first choice of providers. You do need to accept that insurance on your home in a flood prone area may cost more, or may have special terms and will likely have a higher flood excess. Typically you can expect to see the following endorsements added to your insurance.
We will not pay for any costs of additional materials, work or expense required solely to comply with Government or local authority bylaws and regulations, if those costs are required solely to meet the requirement of Government or local authorities to reduce the exposure to a natural hazard at the home.
An excess of $2,500 applies to any claim for water entering the Home as a result of flood, or inundation by seawater, replacing the excess shown in the schedule.
For the purpose of this endorsement, flood means the covering of normally dry land:
i. by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of:
a. any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified, or
b. any reservoir, canal or dam,
ii. by rain water pooling or failing to drain away

4. Has the risk been mitigated?
Sometimes the flood risk has already been minimised. The home could have been built on high piles to avoid the flood water. Or the council may have spent millions on flood prevention. This type of information can be used to sway an insurer when it comes to offering you and your home cover.

5. Is the property at risk of other hazards?
Flooding may not be the only issue. Check if the property is also at risk of erosion, landslip or subsidence. Homes in areas such as Clifton on the Hawke’s Bay coast and coastal towns like Tapu on the Coromandel Peninsula are at risk of floods, tsunami and erosion. Flood Risk is not only a coastal issue. Devastating floods have been caused by rainfall especially if that results in a river bursting its banks, like in Edgecumbe.

The best way ensure you are getting the best terms is to present your insurer with all the facts. Failure to advise your insurer that your home is at risk of flooding can result in non disclosure. The worst case scenario is that your insurer will void your policy and your claim wont get paid. In the best case scenario your insurer will apply the terms / excess / premium to your policy that it would have applied had they known of the risk, and your claim will be paid.

Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
Many families have had their lives changed forever by disasters in New Zealand in recent years. Having a survival plan could go a long way to helping your family during and after a disaster in New Zealand. Learn how to prepare your home and family for survival in a disaster in New Zealand.