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Monday, February 28, 2011

Clifton Hill Evacuated

Sumner residents evacuated

Last updated 11:56 28/02/2011
Residents of Clifton Hill, overlooking the beachside suburb of Sumner, have been ordered out this morning after the risk of landslides became too great.

The hill suffered massive land damage during Tuesday’s earthquake and experts have been monitoring cracks in it since.

At around 7:45am police, fire and ambulance services descended on the hill and told residents to go. “There’s been more subsidence in the hill overnight,” Detective Damon Wells said.

“Engineers have done some assessments and a fly over. They’re currently doing a new assessment.” Residents were asked their names and addresses as they left as police compiled a record of which houses were clear.

Clifton Tce, Panorama Rd, Revelation Dr, The Spur and Tuawera Tce have all been systematically emptied.

Wells said the operation was linked to the large cracks on Kinsey Tce, which was evacuated on Tuesday and had been monitored since.

Clifton Tce resident Mark Young knew something was up when he saw police cars racing up the hill past his home. “We saw seven or eight cars go up the hill.

They were going flat out,” he said. He suspected he would be ordered to leave, so quickly packed a bag and told his son Jeremy to put the cat in the catbox. “There were police way out on the beach.

We thought ‘why are they standing so far out? It must be more than a rock fall.’”

His hunch was soon proved right. “[Police] came over the back, they came over the side fence, through the front, all at once. They were being pretty thorough.”

The Spur residents Brian Reidy and Merryn Dunmill had almost no time to pack.

“We heard shouting about 20 past eight,” Dunmill said. “We sort of ignored it for a while then I said ‘I think it’s coming from next door’.” “These guys were shouting, ‘You’ve got to go now!’ We grabbed a bag and ran.

I couldn’t even get the computer or the cat.” 35 army engineer troops arrived in Sumner around 9:30am for a pre-arranged inspection of the area. Major Christian Dunne said the door-to-door sweep would continue as planned except for Clifton Hill.

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