USAR teams assess future of Kaikoura houses

USAR teams assess future of Kaikoura houses

An Urban Search and Rescue team has been busy on Sunday, checking homes in the badly affected suburb of Lyell Creek.

Described by USAR teams as one of the worst-hit in Kaikoura, one of the houses belongs to an 80-year-old woman who survived after being trapped inside for two hours following the quake.

"A 7.8 magnitude is a reasonably good sized earthquake, and I think the term lucky is the wrong one, but we were fortunate that there were not more casualties," says USAR Kaikoura Commander Jeff Maunder.

Lyell Creek is Kaikoura's most-damaged area, with many of the properties either red- or yellow-stickered.

Karana Barker was at home with her four children when the quake hit. Their creek-side rented home is now condemned.

"The front of the house is sinking into the ground, and the back of the house is now sinking as well," she says.

There are some homes in the area that escaped damage, now white-stickered and approved for use.

But a white sticker isn't assurance enough for Mike Cameron.

"As soon as the inland road is open, we'll be gone," he says.

He's moving his family north to Renwick, despite his home avoiding structural damage.

"The movement that happened inside that house and how we were all thrown around, and the internal damage, was very, very frightening," he says. "It's nothing like I've ever been through before."

At least 27 properties have been red-stickered so far, but that number is almost certain to rise, with half of the properties yet to be assessed.