Saturday, August 17, 2013

Most Seddon houses damaged but liveable, council says - TVNZ

A house in Seddon following the large earthquake on the 16th of August (Source: Facebook)

A house in Seddon following the large earthquake on the 16th of August - Source: Facebook

Quake damaged house in Seddon, Marlborough (Source: ONE News)

Quake damaged house in Seddon, Marlborough - Source: ONE News

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Most houses in Seddon have held up throughout the recent days' earthquakes, according to Marlborough District Council.

Relentless aftershocks have rattled the region since Friday's 6.6 magnitude earthquake and many houses and buildings have sustained some damage, said MDC emergency manager Dean Heiford.

However, the damage is mostly minor and the majority of houses are still safe to live in, he said.

But a few families have been forced from their homes.

The Hickmans' Lake Grassmere house near Seddon was red-stickered after July's quakes, and the property was further damaged in Friday's shake.

Kieran Hickman said he did not think the family would ever be able to live there again.

Structural engineers were due to inspect the house to confirm it could not be rebuilt, he said, but now that was apparent even without an engineer's report.

Aftershocks continue

According to GeoNet, around 20 aftershocks struck near Seddon throughout the night.

A "strong" magnitude 4.4 aftershock hit at 12.39am, around 20 kilometres east of Seddon.

Then at 4.07am, a magnitude five quake, at a depth of 20 kilometres, struck 5km south-east of the small Marlborough town.

The overnight aftershocks followed a 5.6 magnitude quake that struck at 8.58pm last night.

It was located 25 kilometres south-east of Seddon.

More than 1000 people reported feeling the earthquake, according to the GeoNet website.

It came after a magnitude five tremor at 4.13pm yesterday afternoon, among numerous smaller tremors during the day.

State Highway One was reopened about lunchtime yesterday after Friday's quakes caused major cracking in several areas south of Seddon and Ward.

But the main rail line is still shut due to concerns over a tunnel in the area.

Civil Defence has set up a welfare centre in Seddon at the local school for people needing support.

Twenty-six people stayed there on Friday night due to damaged homes but around 14 people were expected to sleep there last night.

The damage to the town is far more extensive than that from the 6.5 quake on July 21. Friday's shakes hit with twice the ground force acceleration of last month's tremors.

This time, roofs have been patched up with tarpaulins to keep out the rain while others have yet to be attended to.

Chimneys are awaiting repair, with homes already damaged in last month's quakes suffering again.

Blenheim's Wairau Hospital confirmed it treated five people who suffered injuries during the quakes.

Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee, visiting the district, said EQC will go on Monday to assess the extent of damage.

He said this will be treated as a separate project from the big repair job in Christchurch.

In other parts of Marlborough, some houses have been badly damaged and the quake has had a significant impact on the region's famous vineyards.

Several leaking tanks at wineries needed to be emptied out yesterday morning.

Businesses in Blenheim saw shop shelves emptied as the shaking took hold on Friday.

Farmers have also been hit, with one, Dick Bell, draining his irrigation pond after major cracks emerged in his dam.

Wellington focus on lift shaft

Meanwhile, in Wellington, preparations continue to demolish the Lukes Lane lift shaft piece-by-piece because it is considered an earthquake risk after being damaged in the July quake.

A second crane is being sent up from Christchurch that can carry a load of 60 tonnes, but dismantling the tower is so complex it will be next week before it is down.

Engineers were checking other buildings in the capital yesterday, but the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, said there was no significant damage from Friday's quake.

Westpac Stadium has been closed and two big events have been cancelled.

But its Chief Executive, Shane Harmon, is confident the stadium will get the all clear from engineers for next weekend's All Blacks Bledisloe Cup match.

- With Newstalk ZB

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