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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earthquake victims still doing it tough

Earthquake victims still doing it tough

Last updated 05:00 26/04/2011

Eileen Woolf is moving out of the campervan that has been her home since the September 4 earthquake destroyed her house.

The motorhome in the driveway of her damaged Kairaki Beach house has proved too cold in the lead-up to winter.

"We have rented a place in Ashburton and we are moving out. It is just too cold going out of the van to use the toilet in the middle of the night. It was time," she said.

"When we bought the bus, we had no idea of timeframes. It was time to find somewhere warm and dry."

Woolf was honoured this week by Waimakariri Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw for helping quake-stricken Kairaki Beach residents after the September quake.

She also ventured back into her quake-damaged kitchen after the February 22 quake to cook 80 hot meals for people in Christchurch.

She said the house being on an angle made it tricky to cook certain dishes.

"The oven was on a lean. I couldn't make a quiche because one side would be deeper than the other."

Woolf's house will have to be demolished. The plumbing is broken and water comes through the ceiling when it rains.

Woolf did not want to leave the house for security reasons, so she bought the campervan and a caravan with a $20,000 loan from her bank and a $10,000 accommodation supplement advance from her insurance company.

Woolf said she was unsure over whether to watch the demolition of her home.

"I don't know what to do about that. You either see it and never forget it or you don't go and then you will always wonder.

"It is a bit of a dilemma."


Spreydon shopkeeper Frank Yan is looking for a new job.

He lost his dairy, home and livelihood in the September quake.

Yan ran a dairy on the corner of Rosewarne and Selwyn streets and lived in the house above with his wife and 15-year-old son.

The building was damaged beyond repair in September and suffered further damage in February.

Yan has been looking for an empty shop to open a new dairy, but with no luck.

"We have been looking for a shop, but there are no empty places, so I have to look for another job," he said.

"It is very hard to find a new place. They have all been taken already."

Yan does not know what will happen to his former dairy and believes it will take years to be rebuilt. The row of shops that includes his dairy was being demolished last week.

He does not know what kind of job he will be able to get. "I may have to work as a labourer. I want to do this job. I don't know what other job I can do."

He is finding the uncertainty and lack of employment hard.

"I feel very unhappy. It is a long time to find a new place.

"I hope I can open a shop again as soon as possible," he said.

"I am very bored because I lost my business and a lot of money."


The Johnson family considered moving to Australia after the February quake, but now they want to stay in Christchurch.

Gary Johnson, wife Lisa and children Blake, 4, and Danielle, 6, have decided to stay and support Christchurch.

The family's Avonside home was badly damaged in the September quake and is slated for demolition. The family had moved to a rental property nearby, but the February quake caused more damage and flooding to their suburb.

They have now moved to a rental property in Burwood.

Johnson said he was happy to stay in his home town.

"We are staying in Christchurch now. We are all very happy. We can't run away from our problems," he said.

"We love Christchurch and it is our home and it would be sad to go. We've got extended family here. We will stay and support Christchurch. We have put everything in perspective and it is a big move to go overseas."

Johnson said their badly damaged Avonside home had been burgled.

The burglars took glass from the windows and a shower mixer from the bathroom.

"That is pretty sad. The place is not secure," he said.

"That will get a lot worse with a lot of properties if they don't demolish them quickly. It is inevitable. We knew it would happen; it was just a matter of when."

Johnson hopes to return to a rebuilt home on his Avonside section.

"We are hoping for the best," he said. "There is more damage to our home, but we are just sitting tight and hoping we can rebuild."


Bexley resident Barry Tutt has got used to two things – shovelling silt and living in uncertainty.He is still living in his home, which was damaged beyond repair in September and has since suffered further damage.

Bexley was hard hit again in the February quake, with flooding, fallen power poles, silt-filled streets, destroyed homes and mangled roads.

Tutt's street suffered more liquefaction in February than in the September quake.

"I was shovelling out the silt and thinking, `I have done this before'."

Tutt said he was waiting for geotechnical information on whether he could rebuild on his land.

He has stayed in his home to save his insurance money for an uncertain future.

"There is nothing to say because no-one has given us any information," he said.

"We are still living here. We are staying here because we do not want to use up our accommodation supplement before we know what is happening."

Tutt said about two-thirds of residents in his Bexley street were still living there.

Tutt has said the lack of information and the long wait for news had made him feel "grumpy" and "powerless".

- The Press

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