Seddon residents 'back to square one' after earthquakes

The Pope family, from left, Susan, Nick, Issie, 5, Jess Barrow and Mollie, 2, are cleaning up after the earthquake.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

The Pope family, from left, Susan, Nick, Issie, 5, Jess Barrow and Mollie, 2, are cleaning up after the earthquake.

A business landlord says "we're just over fixing this place" after another earthquake wrecked her properties in rural Marlborough.

Seddon woman Marie Flowerday, who owns a block of shops in the town including the Seddon Supervalue supermarket, said she was exhausted and stressed trying to get the shops safe enough to open.

Residents were cleaning up after the third major earthquake since 2013, when two struck the town, about 24 kilometres south of Blenheim, within three days.

Seddon residents Lyuta Kumasaka, 5, left, and his father Richard Ronaki take a break from the clean-up.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Seddon residents Lyuta Kumasaka, 5, left, and his father Richard Ronaki take a break from the clean-up.

Power and water were back on for most residents but the clean-up was just beginning.

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Severe earthquake near Seddon in 2013

Seddon Supervalue was closed on Monday and Tuesday as staff cleared aisles littered with groceries and repaired a damaged ceiling.

Groceries have been knocked from the shelves at Seddon Supervalue.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Groceries have been knocked from the shelves at Seddon Supervalue.

"We're just over fixing this place. We've had it," Flowerday said.

Resident Susan Pope said her house of 25 years was uninhabitable only months after damage was fixed from the earthquakes three years ago.

"We're back to square one. It's absolutely devastating," Pope said.

Ward resident Mavis Booker stops at the Cosy Corner Cafe to pick up a hot meal.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Ward resident Mavis Booker stops at the Cosy Corner Cafe to pick up a hot meal.

Tractor driver Richard Ronaki said his State Highway 1 home, in the Seddon township, had small cracks to the outside but most of the damage was to his family's belongings.

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"It's worse than what we had last time. Pretty much, what we got fixed from the first time has just cracked again. There were photo frames and stuff that got broken, the TV, everything fell out of the pantry, but you can replace all that."

He and his family walked down to the Cosy Corner Cafe to get fish and chips for lunch.

A concrete wall and bricks have toppled in Seddon.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

A concrete wall and bricks have toppled in Seddon.

"We've just been cleaning the last two days. We decided to get out of the house and have a break from it all. Then we'll go back and start again."

The cafe was closed on Monday while staff cleaned the inside but reopened on Tuesday once power and water came back on.

There were still about 50 electrical faults and broken power poles in Seddon and Ward but repair teams were struggling to access them, a Civil Defence spokesperson said.

Vince Smith helps clean up his daughter's house in Seddon.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Vince Smith helps clean up his daughter's house in Seddon.

Cosy Corner Cafe shop assistant Kayla Jones said people were buying milk and bread from the cafe since the supermarket was closed.

Mavis Booker was one of many Ward residents who drove to Seddon on a back road to buy hot food from the Cosy Corner Cafe as her power was still off.

Seddon retail assistant Lorraine Smith was stuck in Nelson as flooding on Tuesday morning closed SH6, so her parents drove from Blenheim to her Redwood St home to check it was in one piece.

The pantry had emptied its contents on the kitchen floor, and many items fell from shelves.

Smith's father Vince said he expected to be cleaning all day.

"She had some beautiful stuff in this cabinet, glasses and vases. I think that jug belonged to her grandmother. That's had it. But that's like everyone who's lost something, lost their mementos. It's sad.

"I think she was lucky she wasn't in the house when it struck. It would have been terrifying."

Pope, a widow, was alone in bed when the quake hit and the bricks on the front of her house crumbled.

"The noise was horrendous. I couldn't even get out of the bedroom. When it stopped, I got straight out and I didn't go back in. You should have seen me in my nightie, running across the road.

"It is very unnerving when you're here by yourself. But I have very good neighbours. Everyone caught up with everyone, and the Dad's Army of the fire brigade went around Seddon and knocked on every door."

Pope was staying with her sister in Blenheim until she knew if her house was safe to sleep in, she said.

"I'll have to call EQC again. They were busy when I rang earlier and I couldn't get through. But the damage is much worse than last time.

"It might take a bit of fixing, that one."

SEDDON

Both Seddon and Ward primary schools were open on Wednesday.

The Seddon welfare centre was closed.

Rubbish skips arrived in Seddon on Wednesday to help take earthquake debris from households. 

The Seddon transfer station would be open 10am to 4pm daily until the end of November. There would be no charges for dumping during this time.

The water supply was reinstated, but the water mains had leaks requiring repairs and there would be short-term shut downs.

Six dams in the area were inspected and none were threatened but all required repairs.

SH1 south of Seddon was closed to all traffic other than emergency vehicles. 

 - The Marlborough Express

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