Flockton's tears turn to anger

Smell of damp and dirty water overwhelms

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 16:19 06/03/2014
DANIEL TOBIN/Fairfax NZ

The Press were invited into a flood-hit Carrick St house to see how the clean up is going.

The Thompson family
Stacy Squires
THOMPSON FAMILY: Kristal, Justin and their kids Tyler, 6, Ty, 4, and Paige, 10.
Hamish Griffen
Daniel Tobin
Hamish Griffen: Poured his 'heart and soul' into home renovations.

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There were tears of frustration in Carrick St this morning as evacuated residents returned to homes ruined by dirty flood water.

The tears had turned to anger by lunchtime.

Residents in this street are part of the Flockton Basin flood zone. They say they have been flooded four or five times

Parent-of-three Kristal Thompson has called the Christchurch City Council about a dozen times with every flood. She has cried and she has begged.

She says her calls for help have fallen on deaf ears for three years.

''They just keep saying there's nothing they can do,'' she says. ''When they do show up, they knock on our door to tell us the street is flooding but they can't do anything.

''It's degrading.''

Her worst fears were realised when she was forced to abandon her home and carry her children through waist-deep water yesterday.

They left their home with just a bag of clothes while sewage, rubbish and debris floated through the front yard and rose ankle-deep in her son's bedroom.

''I am really angry,'' she says. ''People are busy worrying about things like building cathedrals for morale - what about our morale?

''We have nothing, all because the council didn't have the time to fix this.

''I don't think 'angry' sums up how I feel right now.''

Yesterday, there were calls to make - to their insurance company and the Red Cross.

Every step on their carpet squelches and the smell of damp and dirty water is overwhelming. Despite stacking up as much furniture as they could, most of it is ruined.

Kristal, her husband Justin and their three children will be homeless come tomorrow morning.

They have stayed in Swannanoa since the flood but it is not a long-term option. An emergency accommodation payment from their insurer will last them one month while they try and find a new rental.

''Who can afford a rental in Christchurch right now?

''My kids want to go home, but we can't and I don't know what to tell them.''

Next door, Hamish Griffen stayed in his home as long as he could. His wife and four-month-old daughter left before the floods rose too high, but Griffen couldn't bring himself to leave the house he finished renovating a year ago.

''This is a vicious cycle,'' he says. ''No-one is taking responsibility and we have no answers.

''We don't know anything.''

''How can it take something like to this to make the council do something?''

Griffen has lived in the house for six years and has ''poured his heart and soul into it''. Despite facing the heart-wrenching process of tearing out his renovation work, he is not prepared to leave it.

Whatever happens, he says, it needs to happen before winter.

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- The Press

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