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Kaikoura quake relief on track: Brownlee

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/02/2017

Recovery efforts in Kiwi communities affected by November's magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake are going well, the government says.

This included opening roads, clearing debris from Kaikoura harbour, providing financial assistance to affected businesses and assisting with insurance claims for quake damages, Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said.

Outlining the government's response to the disaster over the past three months, he said it had provided" financial assistance, temporary accommodation and psychosocial support services to those who need it".

In the aftermath of the quakes, the government mobilised 815 defence force personnel, 11 aircraft and four ships to support Kaikoura's disaster relief operation.

It has since allocated $17.5 million to support quake affected businesses in the Kaikoura, Wellington and Hurunui districts as well as $5m for agriculture and primary producers.

Mr Brownlee said good progress had been made clearing land slips north of Kaikoura on State Highway 1, although opening the entire highway before Christmas 2017 remained a challenge.

"As of yesterday, the Earthquake Commission has received more than 25,000 claims and is working closely with insurance companies to resolve all claims for customers across the country," he said.

"So far, EQC has settled around $11 million of overcap claims."

Five million dollars has been pledged to upgrade the Kaikoura harbour with diggers already removing 5000 cubic metres of material to deepen its channel.

New Zealand navy hydrographers are also surveying the sea floor near Kaikoura to map shifts caused by the earthquake.

KiwiRail has also reopened the line between Spring Creek and Lake Grassmere and freight services from the Dominion Saltworks have resumed.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said around 4000 Kaikoura and Marlborough residents had also accessed health services funded by a $3.7m support package.

This included free GP check-ups and appointments with specialist mental health teams.

FUNDING FOR QUAKE RELIEF EFFORTS:

* $17.5 million support package for businesses affected in the Kaikoura, Wellington and Hurunui districts

* $5 million support for primary producers

* $3.7 million boost to health services in Kaikoura and Marlborough

* $3 million in additional funding for earthquake researcher GNS Science

* $3 million fund to subsidise reinforcing building facades

* $500,000 temporary accommodation allowances

* $199,500 funding for public restroom facilities at Springs Junction

* 20 temporary housing units used after the Christchurch earthquakes offered to farmers with significantly damaged homes

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