Isolated farms in distant parts of southern Marlborough will soon get their first face to face contact with authorities since the earthquake struck early Monday.
Over the next three days, a military helicopter made available to police will sweep Marlborough's remote high country and properties that have been cut off by slips or bridge failures.
The multi-purpose A109 helicopter and a three member crew will carry medical supplies and food into remote parts of the region as far south as the Clarence River and including the upper Awatere Valley, currently cut off by a massive slip.
That slip is going to take some time to clear. A UH1 (Iroquois) helicopter will drop a 1500 litre load of water on the slip to dislodge loose material so that a digger can safely begin work to clear it.
Around the region, some of the more isolated properties have had no phone or internet links and the next few days will be the first chance to check that people are ok, and to reassure them they've not been forgotten, police spokesman Dan Mattison said.
An inspection of houses in the Ward township today revealed almost half the properties have sustained some damage.
While 74 houses have been given a white sticker - with no restrictions on access - 27 properties have been yellow stickered with some damage and five houses are red stickered with serious damage and re-entry prohibited.
The township does not have water or sewerage system operating as yet. A meeting on Friday between council and the operators of the area's two private water schemes will look at how to move ahead with repairs.