Reaching out in Kaikoura

Published: 19 November 2016 9:15 CET

By Lauren Hayes/New Zealand Red Cross

Almost a week after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake cut off Kaikoura, Red Cross teams are working to ensure everyone in the town has the support they need.


Several of the houses on Diane Edkins' quiet Kaikoura street have been red-stickered. Across the road, a garage has collapsed, and down the street, a house is slipping into a nearby stream.


Diane doesn't know yet if her house will be given the all clear.


"We're worried about being red-zoned, because we're within 50 metres of the creek," she says, when Red Cross, along with building inspectors and Urban Search and Rescue, calls in for an outreach visit.


"It's quite nerve-wracking."


Inside Diane's home, everything is spick and span; it's hard to tell the building has been rocked by a severe earthquake and days of aftershocks. Despite not knowing whether her house will end up red-stickered, Diane has made sure to tidy up the earthquake's mess, just to restore a sense of normalcy.


On Monday morning, she found herself ankle-deep in debris: jars of homemade relish smashed across the kitchen floor, her crystal glasses and dinner sets destroyed and items strewn across the living room. 


"There's so much food and stuff gone, but we're alive - that's the main thing," she says.


While the inspectors examine the property, Honor, a Red Cross Disaster Welfare and Support Team member, chats with Diane and her husband Darrel about what support they need and how Red Cross can help.


One of their biggest concerns is getting to the toilet - the nearest portaloo is quite a way up the road. As a diabetic, Darrel also has to take care he eats properly, making food a priority. 


But for Diane, who also lived through the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the most concerning thing is seeing her neighbours leave their damaged, red-stickered homes.


"What's worrying me is watching all those poor people leave. That really gets to me. It set me off - I was beside myself."


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright