Auckland twister victims 'frustrated'

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 16:27 07/12/2012

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A former Christchurch couple whose home was destroyed when a tornado ripped through West Auckland are frustrated they have been unable to retrieve their belongings.

Alison and John Berry were among hundreds of people whose homes were destroyed yesterday afternoon.

"The windows are blown out, trees are uprooted in our garden that we don't know where they came from, slates have come off the roof and water is coming into just about every room," Alison Berry told The Press.

"There's only one room without water in it. There's glass and water everywhere. It's unliveable."

The contents of their home were also largely ruined, but the couple had been unable to get anything out, Berry said.

Police and Civil Defence had blocked off the streets and were not letting anyone in.

"Last night they told us that we could probably come at about midday and get our stuff out.  We hired a truck and were all ready when they said it has been closed indefinitely because it's a safety hazard," Berry said.

"We have a new place to go, we just need to get out whatever we can. It would only take us about an hour to go in and out and then the area would be clear and safe," Berry said.

"It is pretty frustrating".

It was continuing to rain which would be doing further damage to their contents, she said.

"The majority of stuff has at least some water damage. The electrical stuff we're not sure about yet because there's no power to check it with." 

The Berrys stayed in their caravan by their house last night.

Now, they were trying to get into the cordon and get the caravan out so they had somewhere to stay.

"We're trying to get permission to take the car down and tow it off site."

Their cat, Poppy, was also in the caravan and they wanted to get to her.

"We don't know where she was when the tornado hit but she came back a few hours later. She was bedraggled but fine. When we get to her we're going to put her in a cattery for a few days until everything calms down."

The couple had only moved into the property in April.

Berry said yesterday she had no idea a tornado had ripped through West Auckland until John Berry rang and said their house had been torn apart.

Berry told The Press she was at work when she received a call from her husband telling her she had "better come home".

"I had heard from a colleague that a severe weather warning was in place for Auckland but I had no idea it was a tornado until John rang," she said.

"I'd actually been speaking to him earlier and he said it was raining heavily there, but then 20 minutes later he rang back and said a tornado had gone through the house. I was shocked."

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It took Berry an hour to make her way to her home, an air force house in Hobsonville, because of the bad weather.

When she turned in to her street, her heart sank as she saw what the tornado had done to her home.

They had only moved into the property in April.

There were delays and cancellations at Christchurch Airport last night as flights throughout the country were affected by the tornado.

Auckland Airport staff were withdrawn from working on the tarmac for a period during the heavy rain and thunderstorms, causing significant delays to domestic and some international flights.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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