More than 100 people evacuated from Kaikoura
New Zealand Defence Force helicopters have so far airlifted 103 people from Kaikoura.
Defence Minister and Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the evacuees have been taken to Christchurch, where local authorities have been helping make arrangements for affected tourists.
“The four New Zealand NH90 helicopters have been evacuating people and bringing in supplies on each flight,” Mr Brownlee says.
“At this stage, it’s hoped the inland route to Kaikoura, from the south, through Waiau will be cleared and reopened by the weekend.
“This is heavily dependent on weather conditions in the area and the magnitude and frequency of aftershocks.
“Cell phone and landline coverage in Kaikoura is improving and providers are co-ordinating well, but services are not yet at 100 per cent functionality, meaning communications remain challenging at times.
“USAR teams are on the ground in Waiau and Kaikoura and a further 10 police personnel have arrived in Kaikoura.
“The total number of people displaced by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and subsequent landslides and disruption is yet to be confirmed but more information about emergency accommodation needs is being sought.
“Essential supplies such as water, food, diesel equipment and personnel and oxygen for the local hospital have all reached Kaikoura today,” Mr Brownlee says.