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Relief on way for remote Marlborough farms

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/11/2016

People on isolated farms in south Marlborough are about to get their first face-to-face contact with the outside world since Monday's earthquake.

Over the next three days, an RNZAF multi-purpose A109 helicopter will sweep the province's remote high country and properties cut off by slips and damaged bridges.

Marlborough District Council says the chopper will carry food and medical supplies as far south as the Clarence River.

The area covered will include the upper Awatere Valley, which is cut off by a massive slip that is expected to take some time to clear.

The council says a commercial helicopter will drop a 1500-litre load of water on the slip to dislodge loose material so a digger can safely begin to clear it.

Police Senior Sergeant Dan Mattison says some properties have had no phone or internet links since the quake struck.

"The next few days will be the first chance to check that they are okay and to reassure them that they have not been forgotten," he said.

An inspection of Ward township has revealed that almost half the houses there have suffered some damage.

There is no restriction on accessing 74 houses, but five others have been given red stickers (serious damage and re-entry prohibited) and 27 have yellow stickers (some damage).

Ward is still without its water supply or sewerage system.

The council plans to meet the operators of the area's two private water schemes on Friday to decide how to proceed with repairs.

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