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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Emergency earthquake repairs underway

Emergency earthquake repairs underway

Last updated 05:00 04/03/2011
Mohammad Ismail and his wife fled their Cashmere home after last week's earthquake and have since spent three nights sleeping in a car, another four in a motel and two at a friend's home.

The couple are back in a motel, but will have to check out tomorrow.

"We don't know where we will go," Ismail said.

His house sunk 30 centimetres and the exterior cladding has been ripped from one wall by the force of the quake.

Fletcher Construction is considering repairs to Ismail's badly damaged house to make it weathertight and habitable.

The company had been assigned by the Earthquake Commission to manage repairs costing between $10,000 and $100,000 after the September 4 quake.

After last week's quake, contractors under Fletcher were reassigned to emergency repairs to keep thousands of people in their homes.

Even with the exodus of people from Christchurch, the Government expects a serious housing shortage in coming months and may establish temporary villages on vacant land.

Fletcher contractor Mark Gallethy said the cracked back wall of Ismail's house could be braced, but there was
still the danger of a badly damaged house up the hill collapsing on to it.

A few streets away, Gallethy and his six workers have been repairing houses since Wednesday last week.

Starting with his own house, Gallethy has made emergency repairs to nine homes in the street.

In Marama Cres in Mt Pleasant, Rob Ward is waiting to move back into his damaged home.

He was in his bedroom when the shaking started last week. Looking out the window, he could see the stone column that supported his roof collapse.

"I thought I was going to die because the roof would come down."

Instead, he could return home as early as next week after repairs are completed.

Fletcher contractor Carl Taylor, who is working on Ward's home, said his company had made emergency repairs to 30 houses since Thursday last week.

Fletcher spokesman Barry Akers said thousands of houses would need emergency repairs.

"We are doing them and not necessarily counting them at this stage.

"The administration is being done in the wake of the work."

The priority was to have homes weathertight and safe before winter, he said.

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