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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restoring last of services after quake 'most difficult'

Restoring last of services after quake 'most difficult'

Updated at 6:57am on 23 March 2011

Most of Christchurch has access to essential services, such as power and water, a month after the 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

However Civil Defence says the final phase of restoration of services is the most difficult and time-consuming.

Lines company Orion says about 150 isolated homes outside the central city are still without electricity. Its focus now is restoring power to the central business district and fixing the 200 or so broken underground cables around the city.

Although water has been restored to 95% of residents, about a quarter of Christchurch households still do not have a working toilet, mainly because of silt blocking sewer pipes.

Residents must still boil all water, but Canterbury's medical officer of health, Alistair Humphrey, hopes the boil notice can be lifted by the end of the week - once the council has chlorinated the water.

Most bridges and roads are now open and Civil Defence says 360,000 tonnes of silt have been removed from the city.

The Earthquake Commission has completed about 58,000 assessments on residential properties.

Most schools are up and running again and hundreds of students who left Christchurch have re-enrolled.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says 97% of schools are open. Six schools had to be re-assessed by a structural engineer after Sunday's 5.1-magnitude aftershock.

Of the 8000 students who left Christchurch after the earthquake, 1500 have re-enrolled, Mrs Tolley says.

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