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Tourists still stranded quake-hit NZ town

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

More military helicopters will begin flying evacuees from an earthquake-hit town in New Zealand's South Island, where nearly 1000 people are still blocked off.

Four Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopters evacuated about 200 people on Tuesday and brought in supplies, but between 700 and 1000 still need to leave the town, says Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black.

Kaikoura, with a district population of 3600, was hardest hit by Monday morning's severe 7.5-magnitude quake, in which two people died.

Massive landslides have closed access to the town by road.

At least 56 people in Kaikoura were hurt and four patients have already been flown out.

Australian, US and Canadian warships are heading to Kaikoura and their helicopters would increase the numbers that could be evacuated, Stuart-Black said.

She wasn't sure how many private helicopters were involved in the relief effort.

People are being flown to Woodend, where there is a welfare centre for them.

New Zealand navy ships are due in Kaikoura on Wednesday.

Power remained out to around 1500 homes and phone and internet connection remained patchy.

Authorities warned people to still expect strong aftershocks.

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