Monday, November 14th, 2016

New Zealand earthquake: PM expects billions as damage bill

Bhumika Khatri | November 14, 2016 3:45 pm Print
Bad weather is hampering with the delivery of supplies by helicopter into Kaikoura since evening, and around 100 people are expected to spend the night in the evacuation centre in Kaikoura.

In one of the worst hit earthquake of magnitude 7.5 and then 6.4, New Zealand has witnessed around 246 more earthquakes as aftershocks since midnight. Also, it has been estimated that aftershocks might continue for months or years, while water, food and sewage are hit in Kaikoura. In his visit, Prime Minister John Key has estimated loss to be widespread and billions in damage bill.

Reports have informed that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending the multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury to help evacuate a large number of tourists and residents in Kaikoura and bring aid supplies to quake-affected areas. Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the Acting Commander Joint Forces, said Canterbury will sail overnight to Kaikoura from Auckland, picking up emergency supplies en route.

Webb said the NZDF has also deployed a seven-member team to help assess the damage wrought by the massive 7.5 earthquake that jolted North Canterbury early on Monday. The reports have informed that bad weather is hampering with the delivery of supplies by helicopter into Kaikoura since evening, and around 100 people are expected to spend the night in the evacuation centre in Kaikoura.

After PM Key along with Gerry Brownlee, acting Civil Defence Minister, took a flight over quake affected areas in an air force helicopter, Key said, “At the moment Kaikoura is absolutely locked off from the rest of the country.” He added that at present the only way in or out us either by water or air, as roads are severely disrupted and ‘utterly buried’.

“There are some very short term practical issues that need to be resolved. Ensure we get more food, water and ultimately people in here to support the nearly 600 people at the welfare centre because the road access points here are blocked off,” he said.

Brownlee said there are numerous major slips, which have isolated Kaikoura from the north and south. “Our immediate priority is ensuring delivery of clean water, food and other essentials to the residents of Kaikoura and the estimated 1000 tourists in the town,” he said.

He also informed that among other areas affected by the earthquakes and consequential landslides, include Hanmer, Waiau and Marlborough, but have adequate communication and supplies at this stage.

PM Key said the cost of the cleanup would run into the billions of dollars, as the loss is huge. Brownlee informed that the economic impact on earthquake-affected areas will also be assessed in the coming days. However, the reality of the situation won’t be easily accessible for quite some time.

Key said his message to locals was that the Government is “not blind to the size of the problems they are now encountering”. Kaikoura is currently without sewerage or household water supply. The Kaikoura District Council is encouraging residents to preserve the water they have, while the stores have run out of water as well as food.

Residents have also been advised to stay at home, as with weather conditions and bad roads, the risk of landslides has also been expected.

Some of the residents have taken it to twitter to show the situations following the earthquakes.

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