Staff and children from Tarome’s Early Learning Centre have been forced to vacate their daycare after heavy rain on Monday night flooded their building.
Centre owner Liz Harawira said this had affected 55 families whose children attend the daycare located in Tupapa’s Karekare Alley.
She said fortunately they were able to relocate the children to the Arorangi centre.
Although the shutdown is temporary, Harawira is concerned about its future. She said this was the seventh time this year the property had been affected by flooding.
“This is an ongoing issue we have to deal with, fortunate for my families and staff, we have a place to go,” Harawira said.
Four other homes in the area have also been affected and some remain just inches above the flood water which is contaminated by faeces, she said.
Harawira said she reached out to Tupapa MP George Maggie Angene and Infrastructure Cook Islands raising her concern on the drainage problem which was causing the flooding.
“I have met on-site with Minister Maggie and the CEO of Infrastructure; they have relayed they will collectively attend to this ongoing issue.”
George Maggie said: “the water is coming from Matavera, a stream that can’t drain properly because the sea level has risen”.
However, he assured the Infrastructure ministry would start work on fixing the water drainage problem in the area “immediately”.
“In government we try to look after our people the best we can and when I say something is going to be fixed, it’s going to be fixed,” said Maggie.
Liz Harawira said the flash flooding had also washed away their gravel driveway.
“It is a big problem, the elderly couple who live near have to endure this over and over again, confined inside their home for most of their time,” she said.
The water could take two to four days to recede but Cook Islands Meteorological Service expect more rain this week due to a trough close to the country.
Service director Arona Ngari warned the downpour could result in flooding of low-lying areas.
Infrastructure secretary Diane Charlie-Puna earlier said their staff were on standby with heavy machinery to clear