A road has been cleared to the seaside town of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s east coast four days after it was cut off by a magnitude 7.8 quake that devastated the North Canterbury region of the South Island.
The inland road to Kaikoura was opened on Thursday morning, but only for trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles as it remained unstable and badly damaged.
A convoy of 27 army vehicles loaded with relief supplies was immediately sent to the town.
Gale-force winds and heavy downpours in quake-stricken areas continued to slow the pace of relief efforts, although the majority of the 1,200 tourists stranded in Kaikoura had been evacuated by sea and air.
Nearly 500 evacuees came into Christchurch early on Wednesday morning on the HMNZS Canterbury and were put up in empty student dormitories, where they were offered cooked breakfasts and hot showers after arriving at 5am.
Police in Marlborough were using a military Iroquois helicopter to begin checking on isolated high-country farms from the Clarence river to the upper Awatere valley, delivering emergency food and medical supplies to farmers who had gone without assistance since the quake early on Monday.'Like living on a waking dragon': New Zealanders count cost of earthquake Read more
Police spokesman Dan Mattison said many people on isolated properties still had no phone or internet access and the next few days would be the first chance for police to check on them.
Aftershocks continued to be felt, but less often. GeoNet said on Wednesday it had recorded more than 2,600 tremors since the initial quake.GeoNet (@geonet)
3pm update: 268 EQs in last 12hrs (9 over M4). Since the M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake they've been 2630 eqs (374 over M4) #eqnz #Kaikoura pic.twitter.com/9syuLbjPchNovember 17, 2016
The New Zealand government announced a relief package of up to eight weeks of wage subsidies for businesses of 20 employees or fewer affected by the quake. Work and Income New Zealand also offered civil defence payments to people affected.
In the Marlborough region north of Kaikoura, civil defence efforts remained in crisis mode, with evacuations continuing around the Hapuku and Ure rivers, which rose dramatically after landslides and persistent rain caused both to break their banks.
The Red Cross was going door-to-door in quake-affected areas offering help and psychological support.
The British high commission had consular representatives on the ground in Christchurch processing British evacuees. High commissioner Jonathan Sinclair told Radio NZ that most British tourists had decided to continue with their travels around New Zealand and were grateful to Kaikoura people for how well they had been treated during their ordeal.
“Most of them are quite determined to continue their holiday – not just because they wanted to but as a signal of thanks to the New Zealand people,” he said.
This is from Wednesday 16 November 2016 22.38 EST Last modified on Wednesday 16 November 2016 22.40 EST by Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin
It is from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/17/new-zealand-earthquake-first-relief-trucks-sent-to-kaikoura-as-road-opens