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Slip cuts off families' toilet paper supply

Last updated 15:13 18/07/2012
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FAIRFAX NZ
CLEAN UP: A digger works to clear a landslide near Levin.

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A lack of toilet paper and other supplies are worrying families who have been left stranded following a landslide on a remote road near Levin.

A Horowhenua District Council spokesman said between 20 and 30 families on Gladstone Rd, between Levin and the Tararua Range, were ‘‘affected’’ by the overnight slip.

The landslide cut the community of farmers, lifestylers and retired people off overnight.

Gladstone Road resident Sally Duxfield said that running out of essential supplies, such as toilet paper, was a concern.

"For one person the most important thing in their life was getting more toilet paper. Everyone is in good spirits. We are all ringing around each other. The neighbours are a very close group of people and it's a nice little community."

Mrs Duxfield, who owns Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre, had been doing grocery runs for residents who could not get out and said she would keep an eye on everyone for the next few days.

She said was able to get in and out through a forestery road as she had a four-wheel-drive.

Local authorities had looked after the residents incredibly well, she said.

A large amount of rock slipped onto the road, and after a path was cleared for residents to get home, more debris fell, cutting off the residents.

"It is expected to take three to four days to clear the material," said Civil Defence controller Tony Thomas.

Horowhenua District Council spokesman Tony Thomas said council staff were using a metal road across farmland as alternative access to reach the families.

The alternative access is not recommended for families to use.

The council was also investigating access to the community by going up the Ohau River. 

Mr Thomas said council staff were visiting properties to assess resident's welfare needs and that phone lines were open and they were unaware of any residents in danger.

The Horowhenua District Council Emergency Operations Centre has been activated, and the council is encouraging people to stay away from the area.

Power was cut to the community for at least six days by a severe storm five years ago.

Because their water reticulation relied on electricity, families and retired elderly people, were forced to dig holes in the ground to use as toilets.

Gillian Olifent said her husband had tried to get home late last night but had not been able to and stayed with friends instead.

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He was able to use the forestery road this morning to get home.

"We are a great valley in here. Everybody was out this morning taking photos and everybody was checking on each other."

Ms Olifent said one disadvantage had been not getting her morning paper but other than that it wouldn't cause too many problems. Many people had 4WD vehicles and could take the forestery road and those that did not were being helped by others.

- The Dominion Post

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