EQC pays out $18m so far

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 09:10 21/07/2014

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The Earthquake Commission has paid out about $18 million to Marlborough property owners since the first Seddon earthquake which hit a year ago today.

EQC National Operations Manager Barry Searle said a total of 1437 claims had been received from the Marlborough region from the July event, of which 1081 had been closed, and 356 were outstanding.

Nearly 71 per cent of the 2663 Marlborough claims from the August earthquake had also been closed, with 774 claims yet to be resolved.

"Nearly one year on, it's very pleasing to see the good progress being made and the community bouncing back," Searle said.

Marlborough District Council recovery manager Dean Heiford said repairs were well under way in the Seddon and Ward communities, but the emotional impacts were still taking a toll.

"I think a year on, people are still getting to grips with the whole set of issues that they have gone through," he said.

Many families were still dealing with insurance claims and Marlborough Roads were still fixing roads in the Awatere Valley, Ward and Grassmere areas, Heiford said.

"People remember the earthquakes but they don't remember the wind storm a few weeks before, then the floods after the second quake."

Despite the challenges still facing the rural communities, everybody had pulled together and helped with the rebuild.

"It sort of builds the community by default," Heiford said.

The council, Federated Farmers and the Salvation Army were still active in the area trying to build resilience among residents, he said.

"A lot of New Zealanders think A: It won't happen to me and B: I got through it, it won't happen again, but both us and Christchurch learnt that the hard way."

A new toilet block was up and running on State Highway 1 in Seddon, and the council was still working out where to put the bus stop.

They hoped to have the public pool up and running by summer, Heiford said.

There were a total of 12,203 claims nationwide for both the July and August earthquakes, of which 68 per cent had been closed as of Friday.

EQC had paid out a total of $23.4m for 8221 claims for both events nationwide, Searle said.

Of that, $17.9m had been paid to property owners in the Marlborough region.

Figures show, 6147 claims had come from the July shake, while 6056 were from the second earthquake.

kat.duggan@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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