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Second army convoy heads to NZ quake town

AAP logoAAP 20/11/2016

A second army convoy is heading to the quake-hit New Zealand town of Kaikoura but progress is slow because damage to the main highway means vehicles have to use a treacherous inland road.

The coastal township is usually reached by the State Highway 1, New Zealand's longst and most most important road, but last Monday's quake covered sections of the road in debris.

The first army convoy of 27 trucks made it through on Friday using an inland road, which is open only to emergency vehicles.

The road was closed on Saturday, but a second army convoy of five trucks and light vehicles with food for supermarkets set off on Sunday.

It took three hours to travel the first 60km.

A military reconnaissance on Friday identified 36 "critical points" on the inland road, three of which are difficult to negotiate.

"There are some real issues with that road," an official told journalists at a civil defence briefing on Sunday.

However the inland road is the most efficient way of reaching Kaikoura in the short-term and the HMNZS Canterbury will remain based in Lyttelton, the port at Christchurch, to be on hand.

Meanwhile, the foreign naval vessels that went to support Kaikoura have now left and are due to arrive in Wellington's harbour later on Sunday.

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