Port Hills residents affected by fire evacuation frustrated at lack of information

Frustrated Port Hills locals are getting desperate to know when they will be allowed back onto their properties.

At a meeting of around 400 people today, a crowd of locals voiced irritation at a lack of detailed information over when they'll be able to get back into their homes and where hotspots are still being dampened down.

Some residents questioned why scientists researching the area have not fronted to give them exact details on what's going on with the situation. As tensions rose at the meeting, the group was told scientists are pushing on with their work to try and to identify which areas must retain evacuation orders, in order to keep people safe.

Dozens of families and individuals have gathered at South West Baptist Church hall at Spreydon in Christchurch, to learn the latest on the Port Hills fires.

Christchurch's Mayor has admitted her council has a communications problem.

Dalziel told the crowd it's disappointing the Council hasn't learned where it went wrong during the earthquakes.

Residents not yet able to return home have been asked to register with fire authorities to gain access to their property so they can collect essential items and check on pets.

So far around 80 registrations have been received.

Visits will be prioritised according to urgency, based on the need to collect essential items such as those necessary for business or study, items relating to health, personal welfare or pets and livestock.

People can call the Christchurch City Council Customer Centre on 941 8999 or 0800 800 169 to register or head online to fill out a request, go to ccc.govt.nz/evacuated-homeowners-access-registration.

Civil defence staff will be in touch with those registered as soon as possible to arrange access.

As of this morning six cordons remain in place and Police and the NZ Defence Force continue to patrol in and around the cordoned areas.

Civil Defence has thanked residents for their patience as risks were assessed.

"Safety is paramount and access can only be made available when the Fire Service determines the risk to be at an acceptable level," it said in a statement.

Hundreds of fire fighters have been working through the night managing hotspots to protect homes and stop any further loss of property.

At least 11 properties have been destroyed and 450 households evacuated in the out-of-control fires which have been burning since Monday.

Last night and this morning additional crew have been dampening a 29km perimeter to ensure the fire is contained.

This is preparing for the application of fire retardant later today.

An investigation into the cause of the fires continues.

- Additional reporting: Newstalk ZB

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 27 May 2017 08:39:54 Processing Time: 720ms