NZ quake: Now it's about helping the country recover


  • A major evacuation is underway in Kaikoura this morning after a fresh landslide threat to homes
  • Relief efforts continue in South Island with an international effort swinging into action.

  • Warships from Australia, Canada and the United States, with about 660 sailors and four helicopters between them, are in Kaikoura working with New Zealand's forces in this week's disaster operation.
  • A large army convoy carrying vital aid supplies to Kaikoura by the only road in to Kaikoura has had to turn back to Christchurch after deteriorating weather coupled with fresh cracks appearing on the road and risk of landslides.
  • Follow rolling coverage at NZ Herald


SPEAKING from the Beehive's civil defence bunker, Sarah Stuart-Black, director of Civil Defence, said the response effort was "beginning to move towards recovery".

"This morning the navy vessel Canterbury is due back in Kaikoura from Lyttelton with supplies including power generators and fuel.

"We will be focussing on those rural, isolated and vulnerable households and continue to work with communities through the transition from response to recovery."

Military helps reach stranded towns.
Military helps reach stranded towns.

Stuart-Black encouraged everyone affected to use the 0800 7779 997 Government helpline, set up to provide information on financial assistance and other support.

She said there had been reports of multiple landslides blocking streams and river valleys, particularly in remote and rugged areas around Kaikoura.

"We urge people in those areas to be particularly vigilant and keep clear of river valleys and outlets. Landslide dams can break quickly and release large volumes of water and sediment as a flood wave. Homes at potential risk have been advised to evacuate."

Stuart-Black said the inland road to Kaikoura was not likely to be open to the public at the weekend, with concerns that cracks and slips could occur because of bad weather.

Work teams were pulled out yesterday because of unsafe conditions, including landslides caused by rain and continuing aftershocks: "Members of the public must not attempt to access the road."

Stuart-Black said there were assessments across the region, including in towns like Waiau. She would visit Waiau, Mount Lyford and Kaikoura to meet with locals at public meetings.

On the view of some residents that they had been ignored in favour of Kaikoura, Stuart-Black said areas were receiving full support.

"Kaikoura has obviously been a particular focus because that's where the epicentre of the earthquake was, but also because it is completely cut off. Whereas a number of those other areas still have some level of road access."

During question time yesterday, NZ First MP Pita Paraone asked about reports that water - potentially a couple hundred litres - had leaked into the National Crisis Management Centre after the earthquakes.

Stuart-Black said there was a "very small" water leak that occurred in the bunker, that had been repaired.

"There is no water in the Beehive basement. It was caused by the earthquake. Structurally, it hasn't affected the Beehive, it hasn't affected the National Crisis Management Centre - it was just a small leak."

Ahead of the weekend, Stuart-Black said people were increasingly tired and the ongoing aftershocks were taking a cumulative toll.

"People will be feeling upset and unsettled by the earthquakes. But increasingly with tiredness being a factor, it all just becomes harder.

"So really important to be looking after yourself and your family, but also keeping an eye on loved ones - checking in on people, and just seeing how they are doing."

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