By Mahvash Ikram
Residents on a central Auckland street badly hit by Friday’s deluge say they lost almost everything when the sewerage main overflowed and contaminated flood waters entered their homes.
Kermath and his flatmate Zach’s Tawariki Street home is on one of the lowest parts in the area.
“All of a sudden, it was like out of the movies, things just started exploding like literally out of the road and the drain system next to our house just burst,” Kermath said.
“There was a waterfall coming out of our neighbour’s yard.”
Kermath said he had just arrived home from work on Friday when he realised how bad the situation was and wondered what belongings he could save.
“You’re thinking about what things are important, and the funniest things are, like a bag of booze.”
He said he feared for his life as he carried his cat over his head and walked to higher ground, away from flood waters.
“The poo water had kind of penetrated by then.
“Anything in there, at that point, was contaminated.”
Kermath’s flatmate Zack was having a bath when water began bubbling up through the bathroom tiles. So he went out to see what was happening.
“It looked like a gushing river,” he said.
The water entered their property with such force, it pushed his car into the neighbour’s hedge, Zach said.
It was likely to be written off – it smelled so bad inside the car, he almost vomited, he said.
The pair did not have contents insurance and were temporarily living with friends after losing almost everything.
Kermath said he was thankful for his support system, but some people on his street were not so lucky.
“The thing that made me want to cry, it’s not our stuff – and there were definitely people who helped us – but it was also the fact that my neighbour came up to me and said your next door neighbour has no one that can help them get their stuff out of the house.”
Nicole, who lived a few doors down from Kermath, was too distraught to describe the extent of Friday’s damage to her home and possessions.
She had lived at the property since 1993.
“All I had is completely ruined,” she said.
“I’ve lost everything, all my photos that I had been collecting since I was 18…19… all gone.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
Nicole said she had no visits from insurance, Auckland Council and Housing New Zealand since Friday.
Residents’ belongings were strewn across the berms and large rubbish bags filled with books, photo albums and electrical appliances – all drenched in contaminated water – lined the street.
Some could be seen returning temporarily – filling up plastic containers and boxes with whatever they could salvage.
Tash lived in a Kāinga Ora housing development on the same street – it had been her home for 12 years.
She was at a friend’s place on Friday, when a neighbour sent her a video of her house going underwater and her cat could be heard screaming.
Tash rushed home, and her friend saved the cat.
She hoped her home would not be red-stickered and that she could return after the clean up.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz