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Carpetcleaners have been rushed off their feet in Dunedin since Wednesday's flooding, and one company alone has been called to about 200 flood-damaged houses.
ChemDry carpet technician Tony Manukau said he had been working 12- to 14-hour days since the flooding and seen a lot of damage.
''Since the water has dissipated, we have seen tide marks as high as your knee,'' Mr Manukau said.
Damage included swollen skirting boards and broken appliances and it would take some people months to fix their problems, with electricians and builders required.
Some of the people he met were ''distraught''.
''It's quite a sad thing to see when people have nothing left.''
In the worst-affected buildings, technicians had to take out skirting boards to speed up the drying process, which could take up to five days.
A company spokeswoman said it had been called to about 200 jobs.