Canterbury DHB Weather and Flood Public Health Advice


As heavy rains continue to fall intermittently, with surface flooding and dangerously high rivers in several parts of Canterbury. Slips and flood waters are likely to continue to disrupt travel for the next 48 hours, making some roads impassable, according to the NZ MetService. High tides are expected over the next few days, which could exacerbate surface flooding problems in coastal areas.

Information on the most affected areas and other excellent and frequently updated information can be found at CCC Information Line – flooding affecting parts of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

Emergency services, hospitals / health centers and appointments

  • If you need emergency care, do as you normally would – 111 service and ambulances are operating normally, subject to changing road conditions. Emergency department at Christchurch Hospital, ambulances and emergency care clinics (24h surgery, Moorhouse Medical Center and Riccarton Clinic ) are all open. Our rural hospitals are open for visits and maternity services are operating as usual.
  • If you have an appointment today or tomorrow (or during the duration of the weather disturbances), please assume it will take place unless you are individually contacted to say otherwise. If you cannot make an appointment, please let us know as soon as possible by calling the number on your appointment letter.

Contaminated flood water

  • Avoid contact with flood water if you can and assume it will be contaminated with sewage.
    There is also a risk of injury from floating objects and hidden hazards below the surface. If there are power outages in your area, beware of power lines which could be out and be even more dangerous in wet conditions.
  • If you come into contact with flood water, change your wet clothes and shoes and set them aside for washing later. Wash any skin that has been in contact with flood water and wash your hands as soon as possible – or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Find more tips on safe handling and cleaning up after a flood here

Drink water

  • At present, public water supplies are secure, with the exception of the Methven and Mount Somers water supplies, for which preventative boil water advisories have been put in place. District councils will notify consumers if other supplies require boil water advisories as a result of this extreme weather event.
  • A boil water advisory means you must boil or treat all water in faucets / cisterns before drinking, brushing your teeth, or using it in food preparation – bring water to boiling is enough to kill the insects.
  • If you can’t boil the water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of bleach per 10 gallons of water and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • If you do not have running water (water from a spring, river, roof or well) and you suspect it has been affected by surface runoff, do not not use it for drinking. If it seems clear but you are still not sure, it can be secured by boiling or adding bleach as above.
    Water tanks that have been filled
    before heavy rains and have not pumped new water from a groundwater supply (spring, stream / river or well) since, can be used normally.
    If in doubt about your water supply, boil or treat it before consuming it.

Food

  • In the event of a power failure at any time, do not open your refrigerator and freezer unnecessarily. If frozen food has been thawed but has been kept cool, it should be used as soon as possible – as if it had been purchased fresh.
  • Do not refreeze high risk items such as meat, fish and poultry. If you think these high-risk foods have been at room temperature for two hours or more, don’t eat them.
    if in doubt throw it away.

General health and well-being

  • Continue to monitor neighbors and vulnerable people near you for as long as the weather disturbance lasts.
    Check they have supplies, including their medications, and share tips on water and food safety with them
  • If you need to see a GP and have trouble getting there, call them for advice. Even if they are closed, your call will be forwarded to a nurse who can advise you on what to do next.
    In an emergency, always call 111.
  • If you need essential prescription drugs and your supply is low, call your regular GP number for advice.

Stay ready and informed

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