Two-year wait for flood protection
JODY O'CALLAGHAN, NICOLE MATHEWSON, SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR & BLAIR ENSOR
At least three schools remain closed to clean up after the flooding, while 31 have contacted the Ministry of Education about flood-related damage.
As hundreds clean up homes, businesses and schools, the 400 homes in the Flockton Basin are told flood protection measures will take two years, at best.
Council engineers are looking at two options for permanently protecting low-lying homes in the St Albans-Mairehau area from further flooding but Mayor Lianne Dalziel says even if the work can be fast-tracked it is likely to take two years - better than the five years previously expected.
Meanwhile, Education Ministry-paid contractors are today repairing flood damage such as fallen trees, branch damage, roof leaks, blocked toilets and remaining flooding.
Head of infrastructure Kim Shannon said the cost of repairing flood-related damage was not yet known.
"It's really important that schools are safe and healthy environments for both the staff and kids, that's why we're getting contractors in quickly to fix any issues.
Most of the 31 schools that were closed yesterday were open again today. At least three - Shirley Boys High School, Thorrington Primary School and Mairehau High School - were still closed.
"We know this is a really stressful time for a lot of people. We've got project managers working with the most affected schools and the cost of this work will be covered by us," Shannon said.
School in need of further help with outstanding issues should get in touch with the ministry, she said.
The ministry also heard from about 90 early childhood education centres that were closed yesterday, but most of them had reopened today.
Fuel leaks into Lyttelton harbour
The Mobil jet fuel tank, containing 1.2 million litres of fuel, was severely damaged from a landslide next to the Lyttelton terminal about 2pm yesterday prompting evacuations.
Nineteen homes in Cressy, Park and Brittan terraces were evacuated just after the slip was reported and cordons were put in place overnight.
John Key visits flood victims
Prime Minister John Key has visited a bakery which kept baking yesterday amidst ankle-deep water caused by the one-in-100-year flood.
The sun was shining as Key apologised for treading mud into the shops on the corner of Warrington St and Shirley Rd where staff were clearing up silt.
Shirley Bakery worker Harmony Evans, 19, told Key that despite flooding their bakers kept the oven going yesterday. "We had all these orders to fill we just couldn't not deliver," she said.
Floods add to 'anxiety and stress'
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the flooding had added "another layer of anxiety and stress'' on already stressed people and was going to require a massive cleanup exercise.
"We could not have predicted with the forecast we had the extent of the flooding which occurred,'' she said.
The government had pledged to offer whatever help it could and all the agencies were working together.
The Student Volunteer Army had also been re-activated to help with the cleanup.
Hundreds remain without power
Most roads and schools have reopened today as the floodwaters recede, but Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said about 650 homes were still without power this morning - most in Banks Peninsula.
"The ones in Christchurch are the result of flooding so we've got to wait until the water's receded. There's a pocket of 30 customers in Linwood without power, they're a priority to get sorted."
It was possible some people could be without power again tonight - most likely those in remote bays in Banks Peninsula.
"It's the underfoot conditions really. It's the risk of slips and just the sheer effort of getting there," he said.
"In the city, it's really dependent on water receding and us cleaning out the equipment and letting it dry."
Jamieson urged those whose homes had flooded to get their properties checked out by an electrician as soon as possible.
Canterbury's weather will be settled for the next two days, which will help hundreds of residents with the cleanup of their properties.
In Christchurch, MetService said the weather was expected to be mainly fine, with a bit of morning and evening cloud and a high of 19 degrees Celsius.
Tomorrow is expected to be much the same, but a southerly change on Saturday morning will bring showers to the city.
"It's quite a different situation to the rain that we had yesterday, so it shouldn't be a big deal," severe weather forecaster Chris Noble said."What looks to be coming through on Saturday is pretty trivial by comparison."
HEATHCOTE HOME AWASH
Next to the Heathcote River, Dion Farmer's home on the corner of Aynsley Tce and Opawa Rd was awash.
Farmer had only recently moved back into the house after five weeks of earthquake repairs. His wife, Emma, was on the phone again to their insurance company. "We've been here 28 years and this is the first time it's flooded in the house. It's pretty shocking," he said.
"I feel a bit sort of gutted - we'd been looking forward to coming home. Having said that, there are people worse off than us so we can't really complain," he said.
Debs Sinclair said she had been trying to get someone to check the water that comes up on her land since the February 2011 earthquake.
"I had EQC out in the early days, but nothing happened. I'm trying basically to get a proper inspection done."
Her Hargood St property had been constantly flooded since the February 2011 earthquake, with water and silt stuck under the house.
"There's water there all the time. There was water there when it was 30 degrees the other week," she said.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said houses needing urgent repairs because of the "one in 100-year flood" would get government help.
He said Fletcher EQR would manage urgent repairs for damage caused by the flooding.
The process would be similar to the emergency repair process in the earthquakes, he said.
"Where there are earthquake issues that have been exacerbated by the weather, or new issues that have arisen which are not urgent but need attention, we encourage people to contact 0800 777 846 so that we can find solutions for them," he said.
- The Press